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W. A. & J. K. CRAIGIE 


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This edition contains a selection from the prose tales 
written by H. C. Andersen between 1835 and 1872, some 
of which are here for the first time translated into English. 
The arrangement follows that of the standard Danish 
edition, in which the tales are printed for the most part in 
the order in which they were originally written or published. 
Those pieces which have not been specially translated for 
this collection have throughout been carefully collated 
with the Danish text, with the result that many errors and 
inaccuracies have been corrected, interpolations excised, 
and omissions restored. The revision of these tales, and 
the translation of the remainder, has mainly been carried 
out by Mrs. Craigie. 

W. A. C. 



A Picture-book without Pictures 

Five out of One Pod 

Godfather's Picture-book . • 

Good Luck can lie in a Pin 

Great Claus and Little Glaus 

Ib and Christine , 

In a Thousand Years . 

Jack the Dullard 

Little Ida's Flowers 

Ole Luk-Oie . 

Poultry Meg's Family . 

Soup on a Sausage-peg . 

The Bottle-neck . 

The Candles . 

The Cripple . 

The Darning-Needle 

The Dryad 

The Emperor's New Clothes 

The Fir Tree 

The Flax 

The Flying Trunk 

The Garden of Paradise 

The Gardener and the Family 

The Girl who trod on the Loaf 

The Goblin and the Huckster 

The Goloshes of Fortune 

The Great Sea-serpent . 

The Hardy Tin Soldier 

The Ice Maiden 

The Last Dream of the Old Oak 

The Little Match Girl 

The Little Sea Maid 

The Marsh King's Daughter 



The Metal Pig 

The Money-pig 

The Most Incredible Thing 

The Neighbouring Families 

The Nightingale . 

The Old Rouse 

The Old Street Lamp . 

The Porter's Son . 

The Princess on the Pea 

The Red Shoes 

The Shadow ..... 

The Shepherdess and the Chimney-Sw 

The Shirt Collar . 

The Snow Queen . 

The Snowdrop, or Summer- Geck 

The Stone of the Wise Men 

The Storks . 

The Story of the Year 

The Swineherd 

The Thistle's Experiences 

The Tinder-box 

The Toad 

The Travelling Companion 

The Ugly Duckling 

The Wild Swans . 

' There is a Difference ' 

Thumbelina . 








There came a soldier marching along the high road — 
one, two ! one, tivo ! He had his knapsack on his back and 
a sabre by his side, for he had been in the wars, and now 
he wanted to go home. And on the way he met with an 

old witch : she was very hideous, and her under lip hung 
down upon her breast. She said, ' Good evening, soldier. 
¥/hat a fine sword you have, and what a big knapsack ! 
You're a proper soldier ! Now you shall have as much 
money as you like to have.' 

* I thank you, you old witch ! ' said the soldier. 

* Do you see that great tree 1 ' quoth the witch ; and 
she pointed to a tree which stood beside them. ' It 's 



quite hollow inside. You must climb to the top, and then 
you'll see a hole, through which you can let yourself down 
and get deep into the tree. I'll tie a rope round your 
body, so that I can pull you up again when you call me.' 

' What am I to do down in the tree ? ' asked the soldier. 

' Get money,' replied the witch. ' Listen to me. When 
you come down to the earth under the tree, you will find 
yourself in a great hall : it is quite light, for many hun- 
dred lamps are burning there. Then you will see three 
doors ; these you can open, for the keys are in the locks. 
If you go into the first chamber, you'll see a great chest in 
the middle of the floor ; on this chest sits a dog, and he 's 
got a pair of eyes as big as two tea -cups. But you need 
not care for that. I'll give you my blue -checked apron, 
and you can spread it out upon the floor ; then go up 
quickly and take the dog, and set him on my apron ; then 
open the chest, and take as many farthings as you like. 
They are of copper : if you prefer silver, you must go' into 
the second chamber. But there sits a dog with a pair of 
eyes as big as mill-wheels. But do not you care for that. 
Set him upon my apron, and take some of the money. And 
if you want gold, you can have that too — in fact, as much 
as you can carry — if you go into the third chamber. But 
the dog that sits on the money-chest there has two eyes as 
big as the round tower of Copenhagen. He is a fierce dog, 
you may be sure ; but you needn't be afraid, for all that. 
Only set him on my apron, and he won't hurt you ; and 
take out of the chest as much gold as you like.' 

' That 's not so bad,' said the soldier. ' But what am 
I to give you, you old witch ? for you will not do it for 
nothing, I fancy.' 

' No,' replied the witch, ' not a single farthing will I have. 
You shall only bring me an old tinder-box which my grand- 
mother forgot when she was down there last.' 

' Then tie the rope round my body,' cried the soldier. 

' Here it is,' said the witch, ' and here 's my blue-checked 

Then the soldier climbed up into the tree, let himself 
slip down into the hole, and stood, as the witch had said, 
in the great hall where the many hundred lamps were 


Now he opened the first door. Ugh ! there sat the dog 
with eyes as big as tea-cups, staring at him. ' You're 
a nice fellow ! ' exclaimed the soldier ; and he set him on 
the witch's apron, and took as many copper farthings as 
his pockets would hold, and then locked the chest, set the 
dog on it again, and went into the second chamber. Aha ! 
there sat the dog with eyes as big as mill-wheels. 

' You should not stare so hard at me,' said the soldier ; 
« you might strain your eyes.' And he set the dog upon 
the witch's apron. When he saw the silver money in 
the chest, he threw away all the copper money he had, and 
filled his pockets and his knapsack with silver only. Then 
he went into the third chamber. Oh, but that was horrid ! 
The dog there really had eyes as big as the round tower, 
and they turned round and round in his head like wheels. 

' Good evening ! ' said the soldier ; and he touched his 
cap, for he had never seen such a dog as that before. 
When he had looked at him a little more closely, he thought, 
' That will, do,' and lifted him down to the floor, and 
opened the chest. Mercy ! what a quantity of gold was 
there ! He could buy with it the whole of Copenhagen, 
and the sugar-pigs of the cake -woman, and all the tin 
soldiers, whips, and rocking-horses in the whole world. 
Yes, that was a quantity of money ! Now the soldier 
threw away all the silver coin with which he had filled his 
pockets and his knapsack, and took gold instead : yes, all 
his pockets, his knapsack, his boots, and his cap were 
filled, so that he could scarcely walk. Now indeed he had 
plenty of money. He put the dog on the chest, shut the 
door, and then called up through the tree, ' Now pull me 
up, you old witch.' 

' Have you the tinder-box ? ' asked the witch. 

' Plague on it ! ' exclaimed the soldier, ' I had clean 
forgotten that.' And he went and brought it. 

The witch drew him up, and he stood on the high road 
again, with pockets, boots, knapsack, and cap full of 

' What are you going to do with the tinder-box 1 ' 
asked the soldier. 

' That 's nothing to you,' retorted the witch. ' You've 
had your money — just give me the tinder-box.' 


' Nonsense ! ' said the soldier. ' Tell me directly wha-t 
you're going to do with it, or I'll draw my sword and cut 
off your head.' 

' No ! ' cried the witch. 

So the soldier cut off her head. There she lay ! But he 
tied up all his money in her apron, took it on his back like 
a bundle, put the tinder-box in his pocket, and went 
straight off towards the town. 

That was a splendid town ! He put up at the very 

best inn, asked for the finest rooms, and ordered his 
favourite dishes, for now he was rich, having got so much 
money. The servant v\^ho had to clean his boots certainly 
thought them a remarkably old pair for such a rich gentle- 
man ; but he had not bought any new ones yet. The 
next day he procured proper boots and handsome clothes. 
Now our soldier had become a fine gentleman ; and the 
people told him of all the splendid things which were in 
their city, and about the king, and what a pretty princess 
the king's daughter was. 

' Where can one get to see her ? ' asked the soldier. 
' She is not to be seen at all,' said they all together ; 
she lives in a great copper castle, with a great many walls 


and towers round about it ; no one but the king may go in 
and out there, for it has been prophesied that she shall 
marry a common soldier, and the king can't bear 

' I should like to see her,' thought the soldier ; but he 
could not get leave to do so. Now he lived merrily, went 
to the theatre, drove in the king's garden, and gave much 
money to the poor ; and this was very kind of him, for he 
knew from old times how hard it is when one has not 
a shilling. Now he was rich, had fine clothes, and gained 
many friends, who all said he was a rare one, a true cavalier ; 
and that pleased the soldier well. But as he spent money 
every day and never earned any, he had at last only two 
shillings left ; and he was obliged to turn out of the fine 
rooms in which he had dwelt, and had to live in a little 
garret under the roof, and clean his boots for himself, and 
mend them with a darning-needle. None of his friends 
came to see him, for there were too many stairs to climb. 

It was quite dark one evening, and he could not even 
buy himself a candle, when it occurred to him that there 
was a candle-end in the tinder-box which he had taken out 
of the hollow tree into which the witch had helped him. 
He brought out the tinder-box and the candle-end ; but 
as soon as he struck fire and the sparks rose up from the 
flint, the door flew open, and the dog who had eyes as big 
as a couple of tea -cups, and whom he had seen in the tree, 
stood before him, and said, 

' What are my lord's commands ? ' 

' What is this ? ' said the soldier. ' That 's a famous 
tinder-box, if I can get everj^thing with it that I want ! 
Bring me some money,' said he to the dog ; and whisk! 
the dog was gone, and ivhiskf he was back again, with 
a great bag full of shillings in his mouth. 

Now the soldier knew what a capital tinder-box this was. 
If he struck it once, the dog came who sat upon the chest 
of copper money ; if he struck it twice, the dog came who 
had the silver ; and if he struck it three times, then 
appeared the dog who had the gold. Now the soldier 
moved back into the fine rooms, and appeared again in 
handsome clothes ; and all his friends knew him again, 
and cared very much for him indeed. 


Once he thought to himself, ' It is a very strange thing 
that one cannot get to see the princess. They all say she 
is very beautiful ; but what is the use of that, if she has 
always to sit in the great copper castle with the many 
towers ? Can I not get to see her at all ? Where is my 
tinder-box ? ' And so he struck a light, and whisk! came 
the dog with eyes as big as tea-cups. 

' It is midnight, certainly,' said the soldier, ' but I should 
very much like to see the princess, only for one little 

The dog was outside the door directly, and, before 
the soldier thought it, came back with the princess. She 
sat upon the dog's back and slept ; and every one could 
see she was a real princess, for she was so lovely. The 
soldier could not refrain from kissing her, for he was 
a thorough soldier. Then the dog ran back again with 
the princess. But when morning came, and the king and 
queen were drinking tea, the princess said she had had 
a strange dream the night before, about a dog and a 
soldier — that she had ridden upon the dog, and the soldier 
had kissed her. 

' That would be a fine history ! ' said the Queen. 

So one of the old court ladies had to watch the next 
night by the princess's bed, to see if this was really a dream, 
or what it might be. 

The soldier had a great longing to see the lovely princess 
again ; so the dog came in the night, took her away, and 
ran as fast as he, could. But the old lady put on water- 
boots, and ran just as fast after him. When she saw that 
they both entered a great house, she thought, ' Now 
I know where it is ; ' and with a bit of chalk she drew 
a great cross on the door. Then she went home and lay 
down, and the dog came up with the princess ; but when 
he saw that there was a cross drawn on the door where the 
soldier lived, he took a piece of chalk too, and drew crosses 
on all the doors in the town. And that Avas cleverly done, 
for now the lady could not find the right door, because all 
the doors had crosses upon them. 

In the morning early came the King and the Queen, the 
old court lady and all the officers, to see where it was 
the princess had been. ' Here it is ! ' said the King, when 


he saw the first door with a cross upon it. 'No, my dear 
husband, it is there ! ' said the Queen, who descried another 
door which also showed a cross. ' But there is one, and 
tJiere is one ! ' said all, for wherever they looked there were 
crosses on the doors. So they saw that it would avail them 
nothing if they searched on. 

But the Queen was an exceedingly clever woman, who 
could do more than ride in a coach. She took her great 
gold scissors, cut a piece of silk into pieces, and made 
a neat little bag ; this bag she filled with fine wheat flour,, 
and tied it on the princess's back ; and when that was 
done, she cut a little hole in the bag, so that the flour 
would be scattered along all the way which the princess 
should take. 

In the night the dog came again, took the princess on 
his back, and ran with her to the soldier, who loved her 
very much, and would gladly have been a prince, so that 
he might have her for his wife. The dog did not notice at 
all how the flour ran out in a stream from the castle to the 
windows of the soldier's house, where he ran up the wall 
with the princess. In the morning the King and the Queen 
saw well enough where their daughter had been, and they 
took the soldier and put him in prison. 

There he sat. Oh, but it was dark and disagreeable 
there ! And they said to him, ' To-morrow you shall be 
hanged.' That was not amusing to hear, and he had left 
his tinder-box at the inn. In the morning he could see, 
through the iron grating of the little window, how the 
people were hurrying out of the town to see him hanged. 
He heard the drums beat and saw the soldiers marching. 
All the people were running out, and among them was 
a shoemaker's boy with leather apron and slippers, and he 
gallopped so fast that one of his slippers flew off, and came 
right against the wall where the soldier sat looking through 
the iron grating. 

' Halloo, you shoemaker's boy ! you needn't be in such 
a hurry,' cried the soldier to him : ' it will not begin till 
I come. But if you will run to where I lived, and bring 
me my tinder-box, you shall have four shillings ; but you 
must put your best leg foremost.' 

The shoemaker's boy wanted to get the four shillings, so 


he went and brought the tinder-box, and — well, we shall 
hear now what happened. 

Outside the town a great gallows had been built, and 
round it stood the soldiers and many hundred thousand 
people. The king and queen sat on a splendid throne, 
opposite to the judges and the whole council. The soldier 
already stood upon the ladder ; but as they were about to 
put the rope round his neck, he said that before a poor 
criminal suffered his punishment an innocent request was 
always granted to him. He wanted very much to smoke 
a pipe of tobacco, and it would be the last pipe he should 
smoke in the world. The king would not say ' No ' to 
this ; so the soldier took his tinder-box, and struck fire. 
One — two — three ! — and there suddenly stood all the dogs 
— ^the one with eyes as big as tea-cups, the one with eyes 
as large as mill-wheels, and the one whose eyes were as big 
as the round tower. 

' Help me now, so that I may not be hanged,' said the 

And the dogs fell upon the judge and all the council, 
seized one by the leg and another by the nose, and tossed 
them all many feet into the air, so that they fell down and 
were all broken to pieces. 

' I won't ! ' cried the King ; but the biggest dog took 
him and the Queen, and threw them after the others. Then 
the soldiers were afraid, and the people cried, ' Little 
soldier, you shall be our king, and marry the beautiful 
princess ! ' 

So they put the soldier into the king's coach, and all the 
three dogs danced in front and cried ' Hurrah ! ' and the 
boys whistled through their fingers, and the soldiers pre- 
sented arms. The princess came out of the copper castle, 
and became queen, and she liked that well enough. The 
wedding lasted a week, and the three dogs sat at the 
table too, and opened their eyes wider than ever at all 
they saw. 


There lived two men in one village, and they had the 
same name — each was called Glaus ; but one had four 
horses, and the other only a single horse. To distinguish 
them from each other, folks called him who had four horses 
Great Glaus, and the one who had only a single horse 
Little Glaus. Now we shall hear what happened to each 
of them, for this is a true story. 

The whole week through, Little Glaus was obliged to 
plough for Great Glaus, and to lend him his one horse ; 
then Great Glaus helped him out with all his four, but only 
once a week, and that was on Sunday. Hurrah ! how 
Little Glaus smacked his whip over all five horses, for they 
were as good as his own on that one day. The sun shone 
gaily, and all the bells in the steeples were ringing ; the 
people were all dressed in their best, and were going to 
church, with their hymn-books under their arms, to hear 
the clergyman preach, and they saw Little Glaus ploughing 
with five horses ; but he was so merry that he smacked 
his whip again and again, and cried, ' Gee up, all my five I ' 

' You must not talk so,' said Great Glaus, ' for only one 
horse is yours.' 

But when any one passed Little Glaus forgot that he was 
not to say this, and he cried, ' Gee up, all my horses ! ' 

' Now, I must beg of you to stop that,' cried Great 
Glaus, ' for if you say it again, I shall hit your horse on 
the head, so that it will fall down dead, and then it will 
be all over with him.' 

' I will certainly not say it any more,' said Little Glaus. 

But when people came by soon afterwards, and nodded 
' good day ' to him, he became very glad, and thought it 
looked very well, after all, that he had five horses to plough 
his field; and so he smacked his whip again, and cried, 
' Gee up, all my horses I ' 

' I'll " gee up " your horses ! ' said Great Glaus. And he 
took a mallet and hit the only horse of Little Glaus on the 
head, so that it fell down, and was dead immediately. 

' Oh, now I haven't any horse at all ! ' said Little Glaus, 
and began to cry. 

AND. F. T. B 3 


Then he flayed the horse, and let the hide dry in the 
wind, and put it in a sack and hung it over his shoulder, 
and went to the town to sell his horse's skin. 

He had a very long way to go, and was obliged to pass 
through a great dark wood, and the weather became dread- 
fully bad. He went quite astray, and before he got into 
the right way again it was evening, and it was too far to 
get home again or even to the town before nightfall. 

Glose by the road stood a large farm-house. The shutters 
were closed outside the windows, but the light could still 
be seen shining out over them. 

' I may be able to get leave to stop here through the 
night,' thought Little Glaus ; and he went and knocked. 

The farmer's wife opened the door ; but when she heard 
what he wanted she told him to go away, declaring that 
her husband was not at home, and she would not receive 

' Then I shall have to lie outside,' said Little Glaus. And 
the farmer's wife shut the door in his face. 

Glose by stood a great haystack, and between this and 
the farm-house was a little outhouse thatched with straw. 

' Up there I can lie,' said Little Glaus, when he looked 
up at the roof ; ' that is a capital bed. I suppose the stork 
won't fly down and bite me in the legs.' For a living stork 
was standing on the roof, where he had his nest. 

Now Little Glaus climbed up to the roof of the shed, 
where he lay, and turned round to settle himself com- 
fortably. The wooden shutters did not cover the windows 
at the top, and he could look straight into the room. There 
was a great table, with the cloth laid, and wine and roast 
meat and a glorious fish upon it. The farmer's wife and 
the parish-clerk were seated at table, and nobody besides. 
She was filling his glass, and he was digging his fork into 
the fish, for that was his favourite dish. 

' If one could only get some too ! ' thought Little Glaus, 
as he stretched out his head towards the window. Heavens ! 
what a glorious cake he saw standing there ! Yes, certainly, 
that ivas a feast. 

Now he heard some one riding along the high road. It 
was the woman's husband, who was coming home. He 
was a good man enough, but he had the strange peculiarity 


that he could never bear to see a clerk. If a clerk appeared 
before his eyes he became quite wild. And that was the 
reason why the clerk had gone to the wife to wish her 
good day, because he knew that her husband was not at 
home ; and the good woman therefore put the best fare 
she had before him. But when they heard the man coming 
they were frightened, and the woman begged the clerk to 
creep into a great empty chest which stood in the corner ; 
and he did so, for he knew the husband could not bear 
the sight of a clerk. The woman quickly hid all the excel- 
lent meat and wine in her baking-oven ; for if the man 
had seen that, he would have been certain to ask what it 

' Oh, dear ! ' sighed Little Glaus, up in his shed, when he 
saw all the good fare put away. 

' Is there any one up there ? ' asked the farmer ; and he 
looked up at Little Glaus. ' Why are you lying there ? 
Better come with me into the room.' 

And Little Glaus told him how he had lost his way, and 
asked leave to stay there for the night. 

' Yes, certainly,' said the peasant, ' but first we must 
have something to live on.' 

The woman received them both in a very friendly way, 
spread the cloth on a long table, and gave them a great 
dish of porridge. The farmer was hungry, and ate with 
a good appetite ; but Little Glaus could not help thinking 
of the capital roast meat, fish, and cake, which he knew 
were in the oven. Under the table, at his feet, he had laid 
the sack with the horse's hide in it ; for we know that he 
had come out to sell it in the town. He could not relish 
the porridge, so he trod upon the sack, and the dry skin 
inside crackled quite loudly. 

' Hush,' said Little Glaus to his sack ; but at the same 
time he trod on it again, so that it crackled much louder 
than before. 

' Why, what have you in your sack ? ' asked the farmer. 

' Oh, that 's a magician,' answered Little Glaus. ' He 
says we are not to eat porridge, for he has conjured the 
oven full of roast meat, fish, and cake.' 

' Wonderful ! ' cried the farmer ; and he opened the 
oven in a hurry, and found all the dainty provisions which 


his wife had hidden there, but which, as he thought, the 
wizard had conjured forth. The woman dared not say 
anything, but put the things at once on the table ; and so 
they both ate of the meat, the fish, and the cake. Now 
Little Glaus again trod on his sack, and made the hide 

' What does he say now ? ' said the farmer. 

' He says,' replied Glaus, ' that he has conjured three 
bottles of wine for us, too, and that they are also standing 
there in the oven.' 

Now the woman w as obliged to bring out the wine which 
she had hidden, and the farmer drank it and became very 
merry. He would have been very glad to own such a con- 
juror as Little Glaus had there in the sack, 

' Gan he conjure the demon forth ? ' asked the farmer. 
' I should like to see him, for now I am merry.' 

' Oh, yes,' said Little Glaus, ' my conjuror can do any- 
thing that I ask of him. — Gan you not ? ' he added, and 
trod on the hide, so that it crackled. ' He says " Yes." 
But the demon is very ugly to look at : we had better not 
see him.' 

' Oh, I'm not at all afraid. Pray, what will he look 
like ? ' 

' Why, he'll look the very image of a parish -clerk.' 

' Ha ! ' said the farmer, ' that is ugly ! You must 
know, I can't bear the sight of a clerk. But it doesn't 
matter now, for I know that he 's a demon, so I shall 
easily stand it. Now I have courage, but he must not 
come too near me.' 

' Now I will ask my conjuror,' said Little Glaus ; and 
he trod on the sack and held his ear down. 

' What does he say ? ' 

' He says you may go and open the chest that stands in 
the corner, and you will see the demon crouching in it ; 
but you must hold the lid so that he doesn't slip out,' 

' Will you help me to hold him ? ' asked the farmer. 
And he went to the chest where the wife had hidden the 
real clerk, who sat in there and was very much afraid. 
The farmer opened the lid a little way and peeped in 
underneath it. 

' Ugh ! ' he cried, and sprang backward. ' Yes,noAV I've 



seen him, and he looked exactly like our clerk. Oh, that 
was dreadful ! ' 

Upon this they must drink. So they sat and drank until 
late into the night. 

' You must sell me that conjuror,' said the farmer. 

' Ask as much as you like for him : I'll give you a whole 
bushel of money directly.' 

' No, that I can't do,' said Little Glaus : ' only think 
how much use I can make of this conjuror.' 

' Oh, I should so much like to have him ! ' cried the 
farmer ; and he went on begging. 

' Well,' said Little Glaus, at last, ' as you have been so 
kind as to give me shelter for the night, I will let it be so. 


You shall have the conjuror for a bushel of money ; but 
I must have the bushel heaped up.' 

' That you shall have,' replied the farmer. ' But you 
must take the chest yonder away with you. I will not 
keep it in my house an hour. One cannot know — perhaps 
he may be there still.' 

Little Glaus gave the farmer his sack with the dry hide 
in it, and got in exchange a whole bushel of money, and 
that heaped up. The farmer also gave him a big truck, 
on which to carry off his money and chest. 

' Farewell ! ' said Little Glaus ; and he went off with his 
money and the big chest, in which the clerk was still 

On the other side of the wood was a great deep river. 
The water rushed along so rapidly that one could scarcely 
swim against the stream. A fine new bridge had been 
built over it. Little Glaus stopped on the centre of the 
bridge, and said quite loud, so that the clerk could hear it, 

' Ho, what shall I do with this stupid chest ? It 's as 
heavy as if stones were in it. I shall only get tired if 
I drag it any farther, so I'll throw it into the river : if it 
swims home to me, well and good ; and if it does not, it 
will be no great matter.' 

And he took the chest with one hand, and lifted it uj) 
a little, as if he intended to throw it into the river. 

' No ! let be ! ' cried the clerk from within the chest ; 
' let me out first ! ' 

' Ugh ! ' exclaimed Little Glaus, pretending to be 
frightened, ' he 's in there still ! I must make haste and 
throw him into the river, that he may be drowned.' 

' Oh, no, no ! ' screamed the clerk. ' I'll give you 
a whole bushel-full of money if you'll let me go.' 

' Why, that 's another thing ! ' said Little Glaus ; and 
he opened the chest. 

The clerk crept quickly out, pushed the empty chest 
into the water, and went to his house, where Little Glaus 
received a whole bushel-full of money. He had already 
received one from the farmer, and so now he had his truck 
loaded with money. 

' See, I've been well paid for the horse,' he said to him- 
self when he had got home to his own room, and was 


emptying all the money into a heap in the middle of the 
floor. ' That will vex Great Claus when he hears how rich 
I have grown tlirough my one horse ; but I won't tell him 
about it outright.' 

So he sent a boy to Great Claus to ask for a bushel 

' What can he want with it ? ' thought Great Claus. 
And he smeared some tar underneath the measure, so that 
some part of whatever was measured should stick to it. 
And thus it happened ; for when he received the measure 
back, there were three new threepenny pieces adhering 

' What 's this ? ' cried Great Claus ; and he ran off at 
once to Little Claus. ' Where did you get all that money 
from ? ' 

' Oh, that 's for my horse's skin. I sold it yesterday 

' That 's really being well paid,' said Great Claus. And 
he ran home in a hurry, took an axe, and killed all his four 
horses ; then he flayed them, and carried off their skins 
to the town. 

' Hides ! hides ! who'll buy any hides ? ' he cried 
through the streets. 

All the shoemakers and tanners came running, and asked 
how much he wanted for them. 

' A bushel of money for each ! ' said Great Claus. 

' Are you mad f ' said they. ' Do you think we have 
money by the bushel ? ' 

' Hides ! hides ! ' he cried again ; and to all who asked 
him what the hides would cost he replied, ' A bushel of 

' He wants to make fools of us,' they all exclaimed. 
And the shoemakers took their straps, and the tanners 
their aprons, and they began to beat Great Claus. 

' Hides ! hides ! ' they called after him, jeeringly. 
' Yes, we'll tan your hide for you till the red broth runs 
down. Out of the toAvn with him ! ' And Great Claus 
made the best haste he could, for he had never yet been 
thrashed as he was thrashed now. 

^ Well,' said he when he got home, ' Little Claus shall 
pay for this. I'll kill him for it.' 


Now, at Little Claus's the old grandmother had died. 
She had been very harsh and unkind to him, but yet he 
was very sorry, and took the dead woman and laid her in 
his warm bed, to see if she would not come to life again. 
There he intended she should remain all through the 
night, and he himself would sit in the corner and sleep on 
a chair, as he had often done before. As he sat there, in 
the night the door opened, and Great Claus came in with 
his axe. He knew where Little Claus 's bed stood ; and, 
going straight up to it, he hit the old grandmother on the 
head, thinking she was Little Claus. 

' D'ye see,' said he, ' you shall not make a fool of me 
again.' And then he went home. 

' That 's a bad fellow, that man,' said Little Claus. ' He 
wanted to kill me. It was a good thing for my old grand- 
mother that she was dead already. He would have taken 
her life.' 

And he dressed his grandmother in her Sunday clothes, 
borrowed a horse of his neighbour, harnessed it to a car, 
and put the old lady on the back seat, so that she could 
not fall out when he drove. And so they trundled through 
the wood. When the sun rose they were in front of an 
inn ; there Little Claus pulled up, and went in to have 
some refreshment. 

The host had very, very much money ; he was also 
a very good man, but exceedingly hot-tempered, as if he 
had pepper and tobacco in him. 

' Good morning,' said he to Little Claus. ' You've put 
on your Sunday clothes early to-day.' 

' Yes,' answered Little Claus ; ' I'm going to town with 
my old grandmother : she 's sitting there on the car 
without. I can't bring her into the room — will you give 
her a glass of mead ? But you must speak very loud, for 
she can't hear well.' 

' Yes, that I will,' said the host. And he poured out 
a great glass of mead, and went out with it to the dead 
grandmother, who had been placed upright in the carriage. 

' Here 's a glass of mead from your son,' quoth mine 
host. But the dead woman replied not a word, but sat 
quite still. ' Don't you hear ? ' cried the host, as loud as 
he could, ' here is a glass of mead from your son ! ' 


Once more he called out the same thing, but as she still 
made not a movement, he became angry at last, and threw 
the glass in her face, so that the mead ran down over her 
nose, and she tumbled backwards into the car, for she had 
only been put upright, and not bound fast. 

' Hallo ! ' cried Little Glaus, running out at the door, 
and seizing the host by the breast ; ' you've killed my 
grandmother now ! See, there 's a big hole in her 

' Oh, here 's a misfortune ! ' cried the host, wringing 
his hands. ' That all comes of my hot temper. Dear Little 
Glaus, I'll give you a bushel of money, and have your 
grandmother buried as if she w^ere my own ; only keep 
quiet, or I shall have my head cut off, and that would be 
so very disagreeable ! ' 

So Little Glaus again received a whole bushel of money, 
and the host buried the old grandmother as if she had 
been his own. And when Little Glaus came home with all 
his money, he at once sent his boy to Great Glaus to ask 
to borrow a bushel measure. 

' What 's that ? ' said Great Glaus. ' Have I not killed 
him ? I must go myself and see to this.' And so he went 
over himself with the bushel to Little Glaus. 

' Now, where did you get all that money from ? ' he 
asked ; and he opened his eyes wide when he saw all that 
had been brought together. 

' You killed my grandmother, and not me,' replied Little 
Glaus ; ' and I've been and sold her, and got a whole bushel 
of money for her,' 

' That 's really being well paid,' said Great Glaus ; and 
he hastened home, took an axe, and killed his own grand- 
mother directly. Then he put her on a carriage, and drove 
off to the town with her, to where the apothecary lived, 
and asked him if he would buy a dead person. 

' Who is it, and where did you get him from ? ' asked 
the apothecary. 

' It 's my grandmother,' answered Great Glaus. ' I've 
killed her to get a bushel of money for her.' 

' Heaven save us ! ' cried the apothecary, ' you're 
raving ! Don't say such things, or you may lose your head.' 
And he told him earnestly what a bad deed this was that he 


had done, and what a bad man he was, and that he must be 
punished. And Great Glaus was so frightened that he 
jumped out of the surgery straight into his carriage, and 
whipped the horses, and drove home. But the apothecary 
and all the people thought him mad, and so they let him 
drive whither he would. 

' You shall pay for this ! ' said Great Glaus, when he was 
out upon the high road : ' yes, you shall pay me for this. 
Little Glaus ! ' And directly he got home he took the 
biggest sack he could find, and went over to Little Glaus 
and said, ' Now, you've tricked me again ! First I killed 
my horses, and then my old grandmother ! That 's all your 
fault ; but you shall never trick me any more.' And he 
seized Little Glaus round the body, and thrust him into 
the sack, and took him upon his back, and called out to 
him, ' Now I shall go off with you and drown you.' 

It was a long way that he had to travel before he came 
to the river, and Little Glaus was not too light to carry. The 
road led him close to a church : the organ was playing, and 
the people were singing so beautifully ! Then Great Glaus 
put down his sack, with Little Glaus in it, close to the church 
door, and thought it would be a very good thing to go in 
and hear a psalm before he went farther ; for Little Glaus 
could not get out, and all the people were in church ; and 
so he went in. 

' Oh, dear ! Oh, dear ! ' sighed Little Glaus in the sack. And 
he turned and twisted, but he found it impossible to loosen 
the cord. Then there came by an old drover with snow- 
white hair, and a great staff in his hand : he was driving 
a whole herd of cows and oxen before him, and they stum- 
bled against the sack in which Little Glaus was confuied, 
so that it was overthrown. 

' Oh, dear ! ' sighed Little Glaus, ' I'm so young yet, and 
am to go to heaven directly ! ' 

' And I, poor fellow,' said the drover, ' am so old already. 
and can't get there yet ! ' 

' Open the sack,' cried Little Glaus ; ' creep into it 
instead of me, and you will get to heaven directly.' 

' With all my heart,' replied the drover ; and he untied 
the sack, out of which Little Glaus crept forth immediately. 

' But will you look after the cattle ? ' said the old m^an ; 


and he crept into the sack at once, whereupon Little Glaus 
tied it up, and went his way with all the cows and oxen. 

Soon afterwards Great Glaus came out of the church. He 
took the sack on his shoulders again, although it seemed to 
him as if the sack had become lighter ; for the old drover 
was only half as heavy as Little Glaus. 

' How light he is to carry now ! Yes, that is because 
I have heard a psalm.' 

So he went to the river, which was deep and broad, threw 
the sack with the old drover in it into the water, and called 
after him, thinking that it was little Glaus, ' You lie there ! 
Now you shan't trick me any more ! ' 

Then he went home ; but when he came to a place where 
there was a cross-road, he met Little Glaus driving all his 

' What 's this ? ' cried Great Glaus. ' Have I not 
drowned you ? ' 

' Yes,' replied Little Glaus, ' you threw me into the river 
less than half an hour ago.' 

' But wherever did you get all those fine beasts from ? ' 
asked Great Glaus. 

' These beasts are sea-cattle,' replied Little Glaus. ' I'll 
tell you the whole story, — and thank you for drowning me, 
for now I'm at the top of the tree. I am really rich ! How 
frightened I was when I lay huddled in the sack, and the 
wind whistled about my ears when you threw me dowai 
from the bridge into the cold water ! I sank to the bottom 
immediately ; but I did not knock myself, for the most 
splendid soft grass grows down there. Upon that I fell ; 
and immediately the sack was opened, and the loveliest 
maiden, with snow-white garments and a green wreath 
upon her wet hair, took me by the hand, and said, " Are 
you come. Little Glaus ? Here you have some cattle to 
begin with. A mile farther along the road there is a whole 
herd more, which I will give to you." And now I saw that 
the river formed a great highway for the people of the sea. 
Down in its bed they walked and drove directly from the 
sea, and straight into the land, to where the river ends. 
There it was so beautifully full of flowers and of the freshest 
grass ; the fishes, which swam in the water, shot past my 
ears, just as here the birds in the air. What pretty people 


there were there, and what mie cattle pasturing on mounds 
and in ditches ! ' 

' But why did you come up again to us directly ? ' asked 
Great Glaus. ' I should not have done that, if it is so 
beautiful down there.' 

' Why,' replied Little Glaus, ' just in that I acted with 
good policy. You heard me tell you that the sea-maiden 
said, " A mile farther along the road "—and by the road 
she meant the river, for she can't go anjrwhere else — " there 

is a whole herd of cattle for you." But I know what bends 
the stream makes — sometimes this way, sometimes that ; 
there 's a long way to go round : no, the thing can be 
managed in a shorter way by coming here to the land, and 
driving across the fields towards the river again. In this 
manner I save myself almost half a mile, and get all the 
quicker to my sea-cattle ! ' 

' Oh, you are a fortunate man ! ' said Great Glaus. ' Do 
you think I should get some sea-cattle too if I went down 
to the bottom of the river ? ' 

' Yes, I think so,' replied Little Glaus. ' But I cannot 
carry you in the sack as far as the river ; you are too heavy 


for me ! But if you will go there, and creep into the 
sack yourself, I will throw you in with a great deal of 

' Thanks ! ' said Great Glaus ; ' but if I don't get any sea- 
cattle wjien I am down there, I shall beat you, you may 
be sure ! ' 

' Oh, no ; don't be so fierce 1 ' 

And so they went together to the river. When the beasts, 
which were thirsty, saw the stream, they ran as fast as they 
could to get at the water. 

' See how they hurry ! ' cried Little Glaus. ' They are 
longing to get back to the bottom.' 

• Yes, but help me first ! ' said Great Glaus, ' or else you 
shall be beaten.' 

And so he crept into the great sack, which had been laid 
across the back of one of the oxen. 

' Put a stone in, for I'm afraid I shan't sink else,' said 
Great Glaus. 

' That will be all right,' replied Little Glaus ; and he 
put a big stone into the sack, tied the rope tightly, and 
pushed against it. Plump ! There lay Great Glaus in the 
river, and sank at once to the bottom. 

' I'm afraid he won't find the cattle ! ' said Little Glaus ; 
and then he drove homeward with what he had. 


There was once a Prince who wanted to marry a princess ; 
but she was to be a real princess. So he travelled about, all 
through the world, to find a real one, but everywhere there 
was something in the way. There were princesses enough, 
but whether they were real princesses he could not quite 
make out : there was always something that did not seem 
quite right. So he came home again, and was quite sad ; 
for he wished so much to have a real princess. 

One evening a terrible storm came on. It lightened and 
thundered, the rain streamed down ; it was quite fearful ! 
Then there was a knocking at the town -gate, and the old 
King went out to open it. 


It was a Princess who stood outside the gate. But, mercy ! 
how she looked, from the rain and the rough weather ! The 
water ran down her hair and her clothes ; it ran in at the 
points of her shoes, and out at the heels ; and yet she 
declared that she was a real princess, 

' Yes, we will soon find that out,' thought the old Queen. 
But she said nothing, only went into the bed-chamber, took 
all the bedding off, and put a pea on the bottom of the 
bedstead ; then she took twenty mattresses and laid them 
upon the pea, and then twenty eider-down quilts upon the 
mattresses. On this the Princess had to lie all night. In 
the morning she was asked how she had slept. 

' Oh, miserably ! ' said the Princess. ' I scarcely closed 
my eyes- all night long. Goodness knows what was in my 
bed. I lay upon something hard, so that I am black and 
blue all over. It is quite dreadful ! ' 

Now they saw that she was a real princess, for through 
the twenty mattresses and the twenty eider-down quilts 
she had felt the pea. No one but a real jDrincess could be 
so tender-skinned. 

So the Prince took her for his wife, for now he knew that 
he had a true princess ; and the pea was put in the museum, 
and it is still to be seen there, unless somebody has carried 
it off. X 

(_Look you, this is a true story.) 


' My poor flowers are quite dead ! ' said little Ida. ' They 
were so pretty yesterday evening, and now all the leaves 
hang withered. Why do they do that ? ' she asked the 
student, who sat on the sofa ; for she liked him very much. 
He knew the prettiest stories, and could cut out the most 
amusing pictures — hearts, with little ladies in them who 
danced, flowers, and great castles in which one could open 
the doors : he was a merry student. ' Why do the flowers 
look so faded to-day ? ' she asked again, and showed him 
a whole bouquet, which was quite withered. 

' Do you know what 's the matter with them ? ' said the 


student. ' The flowers have been at a ball last night, and 
that 's why they hang their heads.' 

' But flowers cannot dance ! ' cried little Ida. 

' Oh, yes,' said the student, ' when it grows dark, and we 
are asleep, they jump about merrily. Almost every night 
they have a ball.' 

' Can no children go to this ball ? ' 

' Yes,' said the student, ' quite little daisies, and lilies 
of the valley.' 

' Where do the most beautiful flowers dance ? ' asked 
little Ida. 

' Have you not often been outside the town-gate, by the 
great castle, where the king lives in summer, and where 
the beautiful garden is, with all the flowers ? You have 
seen the swans, which swim up to you when you want to 
give them bread crumbs ? There are capital balls there, 
believe me.' 

' I was out there in the garden yesterday, with my 
mother,' said Ida ; ' but all the leaves were off the trees, 
and there was not one flower left. Where are they ? In 
the summer I saw so many.' 

' They are within, in the castle,' replied the student. 
' You must know, as soon as the king and all the court go 
to to^\^l, the flowers run out of the garden into the castle, 
and are merrj^ You should see that. The two most 
beautiful roses seat themselves on the throne, and then 
they are king and queen ; all the red coxcombs range them- 
selves on either side, and stand and bow ; they are the 
chamberlains. Then all the pretty flowers come, and there 
is a great ball. The blue violets represent little naval 
cadets : they dance with hyacinths and crocuses, which 
they call young ladies ; the tulips and the great tiger-lilies 
are old ladies who keep watch that the dancing is well done, 
and that everything goes on with propriety.' 

' But,' asked little Ida, ' does nobody do anything to 
the flowers, for dancing in the king's castle ? ' 

' There is nobody who really knows about it,' answered 
the student. ' Sometimes, certainly, the old steward of the 
castle comes at night, and he has to watch there. He has 
a great bunch of keys with him ; but as soon as the flowers 
hear the keys rattle they are quite quiet, hide behind the 


long curtains, and only poke their heads out. Then the 
old steward says, " I smell that there are flowers here," 
but he cannot see them.' 

' That is famous ! ' cried little Ida, clapping her hands. 
But should not I be able to see the flowers ? ' 

' Yes,' said the student ; ' only remember, when you go 
out again, to peep through the window ; then you will see 
them. That is what I did to-day. There was a long yellow 
lily lying on the sofa and stretching herself. She imagined 
herself to be a court lady.' 

' Can the flowers out of the Botanical Garden get there ? 
Can they go the long distance ? ' 

' Yes, certainly,' replied the student ; ' if they like they 
can fly. Have you not seen the beautiful butterflies, red, 
yellow, and white ? They almost look like flowers ; and 
that is what they have been. They have flown off their 
stalks high into the air, and have beaten it with their 
leaves, as if these leaves w^ere little wings, and thus they 
flew. And because they behaved themselves well, they got 
leave to fly about in the day-time too, and were not obliged 
to go home again and to sit still upon their stalks ; and 
thus at last the leaves became real wings. That you have 
seen yourself. It may be, however, that the flowers in the 
Botanical Garden have never been in the king's castle, or 
that they don't know of the merry proceedings there at 
night. Therefore I will tell you something : he will be very 
much surprised, the botanical professor, who lives close by 
here. You know him, do you not ? When you come into 
his garden, you must tell one of the flowers that there is 
a great ball yonder in the castle. Then that flower will tell 
it to all the rest, and then they will fly away : if the pro- 
fessor then comes out into the garden, there will not be 
a single flower left, and he won't be able to make out 
where they are gone.' 

' But how can one flower tell it to another ? For, you 
know, flowers cannot speak.' 

' That they cannot, certainly,' replied the student ; ' but 
then they make signs. Have you not noticed that when 
the wind blows a little, the flowers nod at one another, 
and move all their green leaves ? They can understand 
that just as well as if they talked.' 


' Can the professor understand these signs ? ' asked Ida. 

' Yes, certainly. He came one morning into his garden, 
and saw a great stinging-nettle standing there, and making 
signs to a beautiful red carnation with its leaves. It was 
saying, " You are so pretty, and I love you so much." 
But the professor does not like that kind of thing, and he 
directly slapped the stinging -nettle upon its leaves, for 
those are its fingers ; but he stung himself, and since that 
time he has not dared to touch a stinging-nettle.' 

' That was funny,' cried little Ida ; and she laughed. 

* How can any one put such notions into a child's head ? ' 
said the tiresome privy councillor, who had come to pay 
a visit, and was sitting on the sofa. He did not like the 
student, and always grumbled when he saw him cutting 
out the comical funny pictures — sometimes a man hanging 
on a gibbet and holding a heart in his hand, to show that 
he stole hearts ; sometimes an old witch riding on a broom, 
and carrying her husband on her nose. The councillor 
could not bear this, and then he said, just as he did now, 
' How can any one put such notions into a child's head ? 
Those are stupid fancies ! ' 

But to little Ida, what the student told about her flowers 
seemed very entertaining ; and she thought much about it. 
The flowers hung their heads, for they were tired because 
they had danced all night ; they were certainly ill. Then 
she went with them to all her other toys, which stood on 
a pretty little table, and the whole drawer was full of 
beautiful things. In the doll's bed lay her doll Sophy, 
asleep ; but little Ida said to her, 

' You must really get up, Sophy, and manage to lie in 
the drawer for to-night. The poor flowers are ill, and they 
must lie in your bed ; perhaps they will then get well 

And she at once took the doll out ; but the doll looked 
cross, and did not say a single word ; for she was angry 
because she could not keep her own bed. 

Then Ida laid the flowers in the doll's bed, pulled the 
little coverlet quite up over them, and said they were to 
lie still and be good, and she would make them some tea, 
so that they might get well again, and be able to get up 
to-morrow. And she drew the curtains closelv round the 


little bed, so that the sun should not shine in their eyes. 
The whole evening through she could not help thinking 
of what the student had told her. And when she was going 
to bed herself, she was obliged first to look behind the 
curtain which hung before the windows where her mother's 
beautiful flowers stood — hyacinths as well as tulips ; then 
she whispered quite softly, ' I know you're going to the 
ball to-night ! ' But the flowers made as if they did not 
understand a word, and did not stir a leaf ; but still little 
Ida knew what she knew. 

When she was in bed she lay for a long time thinking 
how pretty it must be to see the beautiful flowers dancing 
out in the Idng's castle. ' I wonder if my flowers have 
really been there ? ' And then she fell asleep. In the 
night she awoke again : she had dreamed of the flowers, 
and of the student with whom the councillor found fault. 
It was quite quiet in the bedroom where Ida lay ; the 
night-lamp burned on the table, and father and mother 
were asleep. 

' I wonder if my flowers are still hang in Sophy's bed ? ' 
she thought to herself. ' How I should like to know it ! ' 
She raised herself a little, and looked at the door, which 
stood ajar ; within lay the flowers and all her playthings. 
She listened, and then it seemed to her as if she heard 
some one playing on the piano in the next room, but quite 
softly and prettily, as she had never heard it before. 

' Now all the flowers are certainly dancing in there ! ' 
thought she. ' Oh, how much I should like to see it ! ' 
But she dared not get up, for she would have disturbed her 
father and mother. 

' If they would only come in ! ' thought she. But the 
flowers did not come, and the music continued to play 
beautifully ; then she could not bear it any longer, for it 
was too pretty ; she crept out of her little bed, and went 
quietly to the door, and looked into the room. Oh, how 
splendid it was, what she saw ! 

There was no night-lamp burning, but still it was quite 
light : the moon shone through the window into the 
middle of the floor ; it was almost like day. All the 
hyacinths and tulips stood in two long rows on the floor ; 
there were none at all left at the window. There stood the 


empty flower-pots. On the floor all the flowers were dancing 
very gracefully round each other, making a perfect chain, 
and holding each other by the long green leaves as they 
swung round. But at the piano sat a great yellow lily, 
which little Ida had certainly seen in summer, for she 
remembered how the student had said, ' How like that one 
is to Miss Lina.' Then he had been laughed at by all ; but 
now it seemed really to little Ida as if the long yellow 
flower looked like the young lady; and it had just her 
manners in playing — sometimes bending its long yellow 
face to one side, sometimes to the other, and nodding in 
tune to the charming music ! No one noticed little Ida. 
Then she saw a great blue crocus hop into the middle of 
the table, where the toys stood, and go to the doll's bed 
and pull the curtains aside ; there lay the sick flowers, but 
they got up directly, and nodded to the others, to say 
that they wanted to dance too. The old chimney-sweep 
doll, whose under lip was broken off, stood up and bowed 
to the pretty flowers : these did not look at all ill now ; 
they jumped down among the others, and were very merry. 

Then it seemed as if something fell down from the table. 
Ida looked that way. It was the Shrovetide birch rod 
which was jumping down ! it seemed almost as if it belonged 
to the flowers. At any rate it was very neat ; and a little 
wax doll, with just such a broad hat on its head as the 
councillor wore, sat upon it. The birch rod hopped about 
among the flowers on its three red legs, and stamped quite 
loud, for it was dancing the mazurka ; and the other 
flowers could not manage that dance, because they were 
too light, and unable to stamj) like that. 

The wax doll on the birch rod all at once became quite 
great and long, turned itself over the paper flowers, and 
said, ' How can one put such things in a child's head ? 
Those are stupid fancies ! ' and then the wax doll was 
exactly like the councillor with the broad hat, and looked 
just as yellow and cross as he. But the paper flowers hit 
him on his thin legs, and then he shrank up again, and 
became quite a little wax doll. That was very amusing to 
see ; and little Ida could not restrain her laughter. The 
birch rod went on dancing, and the councillor was obliged 
to dance too ; it was no use whether he might make 


himself great and long, or remained the little yellow wax 
doll with the big black hat. Then the other flowers put in 
a good word for him, especially those who had lain in the 
doll's bed, and then the birch rod gave over. At the same 
moment there was a loud knocking at the drawer, inside 
where Ida's doll, Sophy, lay with many other toys. The 
chimney-sweep ran to the edge of the table, lay flat down 
on his stomach, and began to pull the drawer out a little. 
Then Sophy raised herself, and looked round quite 

' There must be a ball here,' said she ; ' why did nobody 
tell me ? ' 

' Will you dance with me ? ' asked the chimney-sweep. 

' You are a nice sort of fellow to dance ! ' she replied, 
and turned her back upon him. 

Then she seated herself upon the drawer, and thought 
that one of the flowers would come and ask her ; but not 
one of them came. Then she coughed, ' Hem ! hem ! 
hem ! ' but for all that not one came. The chimney-sweep 
now danced all alone, and that was not at all so bad. 

As none of the flowers seemed to notice Sophy, she let 
herself fall down from the drawer straight upon the floor, 
so that there was a great noise. The flowers now all came 
running up, to ask if she had not hurt herself ; and they 
were all very polite to her, especially the flowers that had 
lain in her bed. But she had not hurt herself at all ; and 
Ida's flowers all thanked her for the nice bed, and were 
kind to her, took her into the middle of the floor, where 
the moon shone in, and danced with her ; and all the 
other flowers formed a circle round her. Now Sophy was 
glad, and said they might keep her bed ; she did not at all 
mind lying in the drawer. 

But the flowers said, ' We thank you heartily, but 
we cannot live so long. To-morrow we shall be quite 
dead. But tell little Ida she is to bury us out in the 
garden, where the canary lies ; then we shall wake up 
again in summer, and be far more beautiful.' 

' No, you must not die,' said Sophy ; and she kissed the 

At that moment the door opened, and a great number 
of splendid flowers came dancing in. Ida could not imagine 


whence they had come ; these must certainly all be flowers 
from the king's castle yonder. First of all came two 
glorious roses, and they had little gold crowns on ; they 
were a king and a queen. Then came the prettiest stocks 
and carnations ; and they bowed in all directions. They 
had music with them. Great poppies and peonies blew 
upon pea-pods till they were quite red in the face. The 
blue hyacinths and the little white snowdrops rang just as 
if they had bells on them. That was wonderful music ! 
Then came many other flowers, and danced all together ; 
the blue violets and the pink primroses, daisies and the 
lilies of the valley. And all the flowers kissed cne another. 
It was beautiful to look at ! 

At last the flowers wished one another good night ; then 
little Ida, too, crept to bed, where she dreamed of all she 
had seen. 

When she rose next morning, she went quickly to the 
little table, to see if the flowers were still there. She drew 
aside the curtains of the little bed ; there were they all, 
but they were quite faded, far more than yesterday. 
Sophy was lying in the drawer where Ida had laid her ; 
she looked very sleepy. 

' Do you remember what you were to say to me 1 ' asked 
little Ida. 

But Sophy looked quite stupid, and did not say a single 

' You are not good at all ! ' said Ida. ' And yet they 
all danced with you.' 

Then she took a little paper box, on which were painted 
beautiful birds, and opened it, and laid the dead flowers 
in it. 

' That shall be your pretty coffin,' said she, ' and when 
my Norwegian cousins come to visit me by and by, they 
shall help me to bury you outside in the garden, so that 
you may grow again in summer, and become more beautiful 
than ever.' 

The Norwegian cousins were two smart boys. Their 
names were Jonas and Adolphe ; their father had given 
them two new crossbows, and they had brought these with 
them to show to Ida. She told them about the poor 
flowers which had died, and then they got leave to bury 


them. The two boys went first, with their crossbows on 
their shoulders, and little Ida followed with the dead 
flowers in the pretty box. Out in the garden a little grave 
was dug. Ida first kissed the flowers, and then laid them 
in the earth in the box, and Adolphe and Jonas shot with 
their crossbows over the grave, for they had neither guns 
nor cannons. 


There was once a woman who wished for a very little 
child ; but she did not know where she should procure 
one. So she went to an old witch, and said, 

' I do so very much wish for a little child ! can you not 
tell me where I can get one ? ' 

' Oh ! that could easily be managed,' said the witch. 
' There you have a barleycorn : that is not of the kind 
which grows in the countryman's field, and which the 
chickens get to eat. Put it into a flower-pot, and you 
shall see what you shall see.' 

' Thank you,' said the woman ; and she gave the witch 
a groat. 

Then she went home and planted the barleycorn, and 
immediately there grew up a great handsome flower, which 
looked like a tulip ; but the leaves were tightly closed, as 
though it were still a bud. 

' It is a beautiful flower,' said the woman ; and she 
kissed its beautiful yellow and red leaves. But just as she 
kissed it the flower opened with a loud crack. It was 
a real tulip, as one could now see ; but in the middle of 
the flower there sat upon the green stamens a little maiden, 
delicate and graceful to behold. She was scarcely half 
a thumb's length in height, and therefore she was called 

A neat polished walnut-shell served Thumbelina for 
a cradle, blue violet-leaves were her mattresses, with 
a rose-leaf for a coverlet. There she slept at night ; but 
in the daytime she played upon the table, where the 
woman had put a plate with a wreath of flowers around 
it, whose stalks stood in water ; on the water swam a great 


tulip-leaf, and on this the little maiden could sit, and row 
from one side of the plate to the other, with two white 
horse -hairs for oars. That looked pretty indeed ! She 
could also sing, and, indeed, so delicately and sweetly, 
that the like had never been heard. 

One night as she lay in her pretty bed, there came 
a horrid old Toad hopping in at the window, in which 
one pane was broken. The Toad was very ugly, big, and 
damp : it hopped straight down upon the table, where 
Thumbelina lay sleeping under the red rose-leaf. 

' That would be a handsome wife for my son,' said the 
Toad ; and she took the walnut-shell in which Thumbelina 
lay asleep, and hopped with it through the window down 
into the garden. 

There ran a great broad brook ; but the margin was 
swampy and soft, and here the Toad dwelt with her son. 
Ugh ! he was ugly, and looked just like his mother. 
' Croak ! croak ! brek kek-kex ! ' that was all he could 
say when he saw the graceful little maiden in the walnut- 

' Don't speak so loud, or she will awake,' said the old 
Toad. ' She might run away from us yet, for she is as 
light as a bit of swan's-down. We will put her out in the 
brook upon one of the broad water-lily leaves. That will 
be just like an island for her, she is so small and light. 
Then she can't get away, while we put the state-room 
under the mud in order, where you are to Uve and keep 
house together.' 

Out in the brook there grew many water-lilies with broad 
green leaves, which looked as if they were floating on the 
water. The leaf which lay farthest out was also the greatest 
of all, and to that the old Toad swam out and laid the 
walnut-shell upon it with Thumbelina. The poor little 
thing woke early in the morning, and when she saw where 
she was, she began to cry very bitterly ; for there was 
water on every side of the great green leaf, and she could 
not get to land at all. The old Toad sat down in the mud, 
decking out her room with sedges and yellow water-lilies 
— it was to be made very pretty for the new daughter-in- 
law ; then she swam out, with her ugly son, to the leaf on 
which Thumbelina was. They wanted to take her pretty 


bed, which was to be put in the bridal chamber before 
she went in there herself. The old Toad bowed low before 
her in the water, and said, 

' Here is my son ; he will be j^our husband, and you will 
live splendidly together in the mud.' 

' Croak ! croak ! brek-kek-kex ! ' was all the son could 

Then they took the elegant little bed, and swam away 
with it ; but Thumbelina sat all alone upon the green leaf 
and wept, for she did not like to live at the nasty Toad's, 
and have her ugly son for a husband. The little fishes 
swimming in the water below had both seen the Toad, and 
had also heard what she said ; therefore they stretched 
forth their heads, for they wanted to see the little girl. 
So soon as they saw her they considered her so pretty 
that they felt very sorry she should have to go down to the 
ugly Toad. No, that must never be ! They assembled 
together in the water around the green stalk which held 
the leaf on which the little maiden stood, and with their 
teeth they gnawed away the stalk, and so the leaf swam 
down the stream ; and away went Thumbelina far away, 
where the Toad could not get at her. 

Thumbelina sailed by manj^ places, and the little birds 
which sat in the bushes saw her, and said, ' What a lovely 
little girl ! ' The leaf swam away with her, farther and 
farther ; so Thumbelina travelled out of the country. 

A graceful little white butterfly continued to flutter 
round her, and at last alighted on the leaf. Thumbelina 
pleased him, and she was so delighted, for now the Toad 
could not reach her ; and it was so beautiful where she was 
floating along — the sun shone upon the water, it was just 
like shining gold. She took her girdle and bound one end 
of it round the butterfly, fastening the other end of the 
ribbon to the leaf. The leaf now glided onward much 
faster, and Thumbelina too, for she stood upon the leaf. 

There came a big Cockchafer flying up ; and he saw her, 
and immediately clasped his claws round her slender waist, 
and flew with her up into a tree. The green leaf went 
swimming down the brook, and the butterfly with it ; for 
he was fastened to the leaf, and could not get away from it. 

Mercy 1 how frightened poor little Thumbelina was when 



the Cockchafer flew with her up into the tree ! But especi- 
ally she was sorry for the fine white butterfly whom she 
had bound fast to the leaf, for, if he could not free himself 
from it, he would be forced to starve to death. The Cock- 
chafer, however, did not trouble himself at all about this. 
He seated himself with her upon the biggest green leaf of 
the tree, gave her the sweet part of the flowers to eat, and 


declared that she was very pretty, though she did not 
in the least resemble a cockchafer. Afterwards came all 
the other cockchafers who lived in the tree to pay a visit : 
they looked at Thumbelina, and the lady cockchafers 
shrugged their feelers and said, 

' Why, she has not even more than two legs ! — that has 
a wretched appearance.' 

' She has not any feelers ! ' cried another. 

' Her waist is quite slender — fie ! she looks like a human 
creature — how ugly she is ! ' said all the lady cockchafers. 

And yet Thumbelina was very pretty. Even the Cock- 


chafer who had carried her off thought so ; but when all 
the others declared she was ugly, he believed it at last, and 
would not have her at all — she might go whither she liked. 
Then they flew down with her from the tree, and set her 
upon a daisy, and she wept, because she was so ugly that 
the cockchafers would not have her ; and yet she was the 
loveliest little being one could imagine, and as tender and 
delicate as a rose-leaf. 

The whole summer through poor Thumbelina lived quite 
alone in the great wood. She wove herself a bed out of 
blades of grass, and hung it up under a large burdock leaf, 
so that she was protected from the rain ; she plucked the 
honey out of the flowers for food, and drank of the dew 
which stood every morning upon the leaves. Thus summer 
and autumn passed away ; but now came winter, the cold 
long winter. All the birds who had sung so sweetly to 
her flew away ; trees and flowers shed their leaves ; the 
great burdock leaf under which she had lived shrivelled up, 
and there remained nothing of it but a yellow withered 
stalk ; and she was dreadfully cold, for her clothes were 
torn, and she herself was so frail and delicate — poor little 
Thumbelina ! she was nearly frozen. It began to snow, 
and every snow-flake that fell upon her was like a whole 
shovel-full thrown upon one of us, for we are tall, and she 
was only an inch long. Then she wrapped herself in a dry 
leaf, but that would not warm her — she shivered with cold. 

Close to the wood into which she had now come lay 
a great corn-field, but the corn was gone long ago ; only 
the naked dry stubble stood up out of the frozen ground. 
These were just like a great forest for her to wander through; 
and, oh ! how she trembled with cold. Then she arrived 
at the door of the Field Mouse. This mouse had a little 
hole under the stubble. There the Field Mouse lived, Avarm 
and comfortable, and had a whole room-full of corn — 
a glorious kitchen and larder. Poor Thumbelina stood at 
the door just like a poor beggar girl, and begged for a little 
bit of a barleycorn, for she had not had the smallest morsel 
to eat for the last two days. 

' You poor little creature,' said the Field Mouse — for 
after all she was a good old Field Mouse — * come into my 
warm room and dine with me.' 



As she was pleased with Thumbelina, she said, ' If you 
like you may stay with me through the winter, but you 
must keep my room clean and neat, and tell me stories, 
for I am very fond of them.' 

And Thumbelina did as the kind old Field Mouse bade 
her, and had a very good time of it. 

' Now we shall soon have a visitor,' said the Field Mouse. 
* My neighbour is in the habit of visiting me once a week. 

He is even better off than I am, has great rooms, and 
a beautiful black velvety fur. If you could only get him 
for your husband you would be well provided for ; but he 
cannot see at all. You must tell him the very prettiest 
stories you know.' 

But Thumbelina did not care about this ; she would 
not have the neighbour at all, for he was a Mole. He came 
and paid his visits in his black velvet coat. The Field 
Mouse told how rich and how learned he was, and how his 
house was more than twenty times larger than hers ; that 
he had learning, but that he did not like the sun and 


beautiful flowers, and said nasty things about them, for 
he had never seen them. 

Thumbelina had to sing, and she sang ' Cockchafer, fly 
away,' and ' When the parson goes afleld.' Then the Mole 
fell in love with her, because of her delicious voice ; but he 
said nothing, for he was a sedate man. 

A short time before, he had dug a long passage through 
the earth from his own house to theirs ; and Thumbelina 
and the Field Mouse obtained leave to walk in this passage 
as much as they wished. But he begged them not to be 
afraid of the dead bird which was lying in the passage. It 
was an entire bird, with wings and a beak. It certainly 
must have died only a short time before, when the winter 
began, and was now buried just where the Mole had made 
his passage. 

The Mole took a bit of decayed wood in his mouth, for 
that glimmers like fire in the dark ; and then he went first 
and lighted them through the long dark passage. When 
they came where the dead bird lay, the Mole thrust up his 
broad nose against the ceiling and pushed the earth, so 
that a great hole was made, through which the daylight 
could shine down. In the middle of the floor lay a dead 
Swallow, his beautiful wings pressed close against his sides, 
and his head and feet drawn in under his feathers : the 
poor bird had certainly died of cold. Thumbelina was very 
sorry for this ; she was very fond of all the little birds, 
who had sung and twittered so prettily for her through the 
summer ; but the Mole gave him a push with his short 
legs, and said, ' Now he doesn't pipe any more. It must 
be miserable to be born a little bird. I'm thankful that 
none of my children can be that : such a bird has nothing 
but his " tweet -tweet ", and has to starve in the winter ! ' 

' Yes, you may well say that, like a sensible man,' 
observed the Field Mouse. ' Of what use is all this " tweet- 
tweet " to a bird when the winter comes ? He must starve 
and freeze. But they say that 's very aristocratic' 

Thumbelina said nothing ; but when the two others 
turned their backs on the bird, she bent down, put the 
feathers aside which covered his head, and kissed him upon 
his closed eyes. 

' Perhaps it was he who sang so prettily to me in the 


summer,' she thought. ' How much pleasure he gave me, 
the dear beautiful bird ! ' 

The Mole now closed up the hole through which the 
daylight shone in, and accompanied the ladies home. But 
at night Thumbelina could not sleep at all ; so she got up 
out of her bed, and wove a large beautiful carpet of hay, 
and carried it and spread it over the dead bird, and laid 
soft cotton, which she had found in the Field Mouse's 
room, at the bird's sides, so that he might lie warm in the 
cold ground. 

' Farewell, you pretty little bird ! ' said she. ' Fare- 
well ! and thanks to you for your beautiful song in the 
summer, when all the trees were green, and the sun shone 
down warmly upon us.' And then she laid her head on 
the bird's breast, but at once was greatly startled, for it 
felt as if something were beating inside there. That was 
the bird's heart. The bird was not dead ; he was only 
lying there torpid with cold ; and now he had been warmed, 
and came to life again. 

In autumn all the swallows fly away to warm countries > 
but if one happens to be belated, it becomes so cold that 
it falls down as if dead, and lies where it falls, and then the 
cold snow covers it. 

Thumbelina fairly trembled, she was so startled ; for 
the bird was large, very large, compared with her, who was 
only an inch in height. But she took courage, laid the 
cotton closer round the poor bird, and brought a leaf of 
mint that she had used as her own coverlet, and laid it 
over the bird's head. 

The next night she crept out to him again — and now 
he was alive, but quite weak ; he could only open his eyes 
for a moment, and look at Thumbelina, who stood before 
him with a bit of decayed wood in her hand, for she had 
no other lantern. 

' I thank you, you pretty little child,' said the sick 
Swallow ; ' I have been famously warmed. Soon I shall 
get my strength back again, and I shall be able to fly 
about in the warm sunshine.' 

' Oh,' she said, ' it is so cold without. It snows and 
freezes. Stay in your warm bed, and I will nurse you.' 

Then she brought the Swallow water in the petal of 


a flower ; and the Swallow drank, and told her how he 
had torn one of his wings in a thorn bush, and thus had 
not been able to fly as fast as the other swallows, which 
had sped away, far away, to the warm countries. So at 
last he had fallen to the ground, but he could remember 
nothing more, and did not know at all how he had come 
where she had found him. 

The whole winter the Swallow remained there, and 
Thumbelina nursed and tended him heartily. Neither the 
Field Mouse nor the Mole heard anything about it, for they 
did not like the poor Swallow. So soon as the spring came, 
and the sun warmed the earth, the Swallow bade Thum- 
belina farewell, and she opened the hole which the Mole 
had made in the ceiling. The sun shone in upon them 
gloriously, and the Swallow asked if Thumbelina would go 
with him ; she could sit upon his back, and they would 
fly away far into the green wood. But Thumbelina knew 
that the old Field Mouse w^ould be grieved if she left her. 

'No, I cannot ! ' said Thumbelina. 

' Farewell, farewell, you good, pretty girl ! ' said the 
Swallow ; and he flew out into the sunshine. Thumbelina 
looked after him, and the tears came into her eyes, for she 
was so fond of the poor Swallow. 

' Tweet-w^eet ! tweet-weet ! ' sang the bird, and flew 
intp the green forest. Thumbelina felt very sad. She did 
not get permission to go out into the warm sunshine. The 
corn which was sown in the field over the house of the 
Field Mouse grew up high into the air ; it was quite a thick 
wood for the poor girl, who was only an inch in height. 

' Now you must work at your outfit this summer,' said 
the Field Mouse to her ; for her neighbour, the tiresome 
Mole with the velvet coat, had proposed to her. ' You 
shall have woollen and linen clothes both ; you will lack 
nothing when you have become the Mole's wife.' 

Thumbelina had to turn the spindle, and the Mole hired 
four spiders to spin and weave for her day and night. 
Every evening the Mole paid her a visit ; and he was 
always saying that when the summer should draw to 
a close, the sun would not shine nearly so hot, for that 
now it burned the earth almost as hard as a stone. Yes, 
when the summer should have gone, then he would keep 


his wedding day with Thumbelina. But she was not glad 
at all, for she did not like the tiresome Mole. Every 
morning when the sun rose, and every evening when it 
went down, she crept out at the door ; and when the wind 
blew the corn ears apart, so that she could see the blue 
sky, she thought how bright and beautiful it was out here, 
and wished so much to see her dear Swallow again. But 
the Swallow did not come back ; he had doubtless flown 
far away, in the fair green forest. When autumn came 
on, Thumbelina had all her outfit ready. 

' In four weeks you shall celebrate your wedding,' said 
the Field Mouse to her. 

But Thumbelina wept, and declared she would not have 
the tiresome Mole. 

' Nonsense,' said the Field Mouse ; ' don't be obstinate, 
or I will bite you with my white teeth. He is a very fine 
man whom you will marry. The queen herself has not 
such a black velvet fur ; and his kitchen and cellar are 
full. Be thankful for your good fortune.' 

Xow the wedding was to be held. The Mole had already 
come to fetch Thumbelina ; she was to live with him, deep 
under the earth, and never to come out into the warm 
sunshine, for that he did not like. The poor little thing 
was very sorrowful ; she was now to say farewell to the 
glorious sun, which, after all, she had been allowed by the 
Field Mouse to see from the threshold of the door. 

' Farewell, thou bright sun 1 ' she said, and stretched 
out her arms towards it, and walked a little way forth 
from the house of the Field Mouse, for now the corn had 
been reaped, and only the dry stubble stood in the fields. 
' Farewell ! ' she repeated, and threw her little arms 
round a little red flower which still bloomed there. * Greet 
the dear Swallow from me, if you see her again.' 

' Tweet-weet ! tweet-weet ! ' a voice suddenly sounded 
over her head. She looked up ; it was the Swallow, who 
was just flying by. When he saw Thumbelina he was very 
glad ; and Thumbelina told him how loth she was to have 
the ugly Mole for her husband, and that she was to live deep 
under the earth, where the sun never shone. And she could 
not refrain from weeping. 

' The cold winter is coming now,' said the Swallow ; 


' I am going to fly far away into the warm countries. 
Will you come with me ? You can sit upon my back, only 
tie yourself fast with your sash, then we shall fly from the 
ugly Mole and his dark room — away, far away, over the 
mountains, to the warm countries, where the sun shines 
more beautifully than here, where it is always summer, 
and there are lovely flowers. Only fly with me, you dear 
little Thumbelina, you who saved my life when I lay 
frozen in the dark earthy passage.' 

' Yes, I will go with you ! ' said Thumbelina, and she 
seated herself on the bird's back, with her feet on his out- 
spread wings, and bound her girdle fast to one of his 
strongest feathers ; then the Swallow flew up into the air 
over forest and over sea, high up over the great mountains, 
where the snow always lies ; and Thumbelina felt cold in 
the bleak air, but then she crept under the bird's warm 
feathers, and only put out her little head to admire all the 
beauties beneath her. 

At last they came to the warm countries. There the 
sun shone far brighter than here ; the sky seemed twice 
as high ; in ditches and on the hedges grew the most 
beautiful blue and green grapes ; lemons and oranges hung 
in the woods ; the air was fragrant with m5T:tles and 
balsams, and on the roads the loveliest children ran about, 
playing with the gay butterflies. But the Swallow flew 
still farther, and it became more and more beautiful. 
Under the most glorious green trees by the blue lake stood 
a palace of dazzling white marble, from the olden time. 
Vines clustered around the lofty pillars ; at the top were 
many swallows' nests, and in one of these the Swallow 
lived who carried Thumbelina. 

' Here is my house,' said the Swallow. ' But if you will 
select for yourself one of the splendid flowers which grow 
down yonder, then I will put you into it, and you shall 
have everything as nice as you can wish.' 

' That is capital,' cried she, and clapped her little hands. 

A great marble pillar lay there, which had fallen to the 
ground and had been broken into three pieces ; but 
between these pieces grew the most beautiful great white 
flowers. The Swallow flew down with Thumbelina, and set 
her upon one of the broad leaves. But how great was the 


little maid's surprise ! There sat a little man in the midst 
of the flower, as white and transparent as if he had been 
made of glass ; he wore the daintiest of gold crowns on his 
head, and the brightest wings on his shoulders ; he himself 
was not bigger than Thumbelina. He was the angel of 
the flower. In each of the flowers dwelt such a little man 
or woman, but this one was king over them all. 

' Heavens ! how beautiful he is ! ' whispered Thumbelina 
to the Swallow. 

The little prince was very much frightened at the Swallow ; 
for it was C|uite a gigantic bird to him, who was so small. 
But when he saw Thumbelina, he became very glad ; she 
was the prettiest maiden he had ever seen. Therefore he 
took off his golden crown, and put it upon her, asked her 
name, and if she would be his wife, and then she should be 
queen of all the flowers. Now this was truly a different 
kind of man to the son of the Toad, and the Mole with the 
black velvet fur. She therefore said ' Yes ' to the charm- 
ing jjrince. And out of every flower came a lady or a lord, 
so pretty to behold that it was a delight : each one brought 
Thumbelina a present ; but the best gift was a pair of 
beautiful wings which had belonged to a great white fly ; 
these were fastened to Thumbelina's back, and now she 
could fly from flower to flower. Then there was much 
rejoicing ; and the Swallow sat above them in her nest, 
and sung for them as well as she could ; but yet in her 
heart she was sad, for she was so fond of Thumbelina, and 
would have liked never to part from her. 

' You shall not be called Thumbelina ! ' said the Flower 
Angel to her ; ' that is an ugly name, and you are too fair 
for it — we will call you Maia.' 

' Farewell, farewell ! ' said the Swallow, and she flew 
away again from the warm countries, far away back to 
Denmark. There she had a little nest over the window 
of the man who can tell fairy tales. To him she sang 
' Tweet-weet ! tweet-weet ! ' and from him we have the 
whole story. 




Poor John was in great tribulation, for his father was 
very ill, and could not get well again. Except these two, 
there was no one at all in the little room : the lamp on 
the table was nearly extinguished, and it was quite late in 
the evening. 

' You have been a good son, John,' said the sick father, 
* Providence will help you through the world.' And he 
looked at him with mild earnest eyes, drew a deep breath, 
and died : it was Just as if he slept. But John wept ; for 
now he had no one in the world, neither father nor mother, 
neither sister nor brother. Poor John ! He knelt down 
beside the bed, kissed his dead father's hand, and shed 
very many salt tears ; but at last his eyes closed, and 
he went to sleep, Ijang with his head against the hard 
bed -board. 

Then he dreamed a strange dream : he saw the sun and 
moon curtsy to him, and he beheld his father again, fresh 
and well, and he heard his father laugh as he had always 
laughed when he was very glad. A beautiful girl, with 
a golden crown upon her long beautiful hair, gave him her 
hand ; and his father said, ' Do you see what a bride you 
have gained ? She is the most beautiful in the whole 
world ! ' Then he awoke, and all the splendour was gone. 
His father was lying dead and cold in the bed, and there 
was no one at all with them. Poor John ! 

In the next week the dead man was buried. The son 
walked close behind the coffin, and could now no longer 
see the good father who had loved him so much. He heard 
how they threw the earth down upon the coffin, and 
stopped to see the last corner of it ; but the next shovel-full 
of earth hid even that ; then he felt just as if his heart 
would burst into pieces, so sorrowful was he. Around him 
they were singing a psalm ; it sounded so beautifully, and 
the tears came into John's eyes ; he wept, and that did 
him good in his sorrow. The sun shone magnificently on 
the green trees, just as if it would have said, ' You shall no 
longer be sorrowful, John ! Do you see how beautifully 
blue the sky is ? Your father is up there, and prays to 
the Father of all that it may be always well with you.' 


' I will always be good,' said John, then I shall go to 
heaven to my father ; and what joy that will be when we 
see each other again ! How much I shall then have to tell 
him ! and he will show me so many things, and explain 
to me so much of the glories of heaven, just as he taught 
me here on earth. Oh, how joyful that will be ! ' 

He pictured that to himself so plainly, that he smiled, 
while the tears were still rolling down his cheeks. The little 
birds 5at up in the chestnut trees, and twittered, ' Tweet- 
weet ! tweet-weet ! ' They were joj^ful and merry, though 
they had been at the burying, but they knew quite well 
that the dead man was now in heaven ; that he had wings, 
far larger and more beautiful than theirs ; that he was now 
happy, because he had been a good man upon earth, and 
they were glad at it. John saw how they flew from the 
green trees out into the world, and he felt inclined to fly 
too. But first he cut out a great cross of wood to put on 
his father's grave ; and when he brought it there in the 
evening the grave was decked with sand and flowers ; 
strangers had done this, for they were all very fond of the 
good father who was now dead. 

Early next morning John packed his little bundle, and 
put in his belt his whole inheritance, which consisted of 
fifty dollars and a few silver shillings ; with this he intended 
to wander out into the world. But first he went to the 
churchyard, to his father's grave, repeated the Lord's 
Prayer, and said, ' Farewell, dear father, I will always be 
good, and so you may well venture to pray to the good 
God that things may go well with me.' 

Out in the field where he was walking all the flowers 
stood fresh and beautiful in the warm sunshine ; and they 
nodded in the wind, just as if they would have said, ' Wel- 
come to the green wood ! Is it not fine here ? ' But 
John turned back once more to look at the old church, in 
which he had been christened when he was a little child, 
and where he had been every Sunday with his father at 
the service, and had sung his psalm ; then, high up in one 
of the openings of the tower, he saw the church-goblin 
standing in his little pointed red cap, shading his face with 
his bent arm, to keep the sun from shining in his eyes. 
John nodded a farewell to him, and the little goblin waved 


his red cap, laid his hand on his heart, and kissed his hand 
to John a great many times, to show that he wished the 
traveller well and hoped he would have a prosperous journey. 

John thought what a number of fine things he would get 
to see in the great splendid world ; and he went on farther 
— farther than he had ever been before. He did not know 
the places at all through which he came, nor the people 
whom he met. Now he was far away in a strange region. 

The first night he was obliged to lie under a haystack 
in the field to sleep, for he had no other bed But that 
was very nice, he thought ; the king could not be better 
off. There was the whole field, with the brook, the hay- 
stack, and the blue sky above it ; that was certainly 
a beautiful sleeping-room. The green grass with the little 
red and white flowers was the carpet ; the elder bushes 
and the wild rose hedges were garlands of flowers ; and 
for a wash-hand basin he had the whole brook with the 
clear fresh water, where the sedges bowed before him and 
wished him ' good evening ' and ' good morning '. The 
moon was certainly a great night-lamp, high up under 
the blue ceiling, and that lamp would never set fire to the 
curtains with its light. John could sleep quite quietly, 
and he did so, and never woke until the sun rose and all 
the little birds were singing around, ' Good morning ! good 
morning ! Are you not up j^et ? ' 

The bells were ringing for church ; it was Sunday. The 
people went to hear the preacher, and John followed them, 
and sang a psalm and heard God's Word. It seemed to 
him just as if he was in his own church, where he had 
been christened and had sung psalms with his father. 

Out in the churchyard were many graves, and on some 
of them the grass grew high. Then he thought of his 
father's grave, which would at last look like these, as he 
could not w^eed it and adorn it. So he sat down and 
plucked up the long grass, set up the wooden crosses which 
had fallen down, and put back in their places the wreaths 
which the wind had blown away from the graves ; for he 
thought, ' Perhaps some one will do the same to my father's 
grave, as I cannot do it.' 

Outside the churchyard gate stood an old beggar, lean- 
ing upon his crutch. John gave him the silver shillings 


which he had, and then went away, happy and cheerful, 
into the wide world. Towards evening the weather became 
terribly bad. He made haste to get under shelter, but 
dark night soon came on ; then at last he came to a little 
church, which lay quite solitary on a small hill. 

The door luckily stood ajar, and he crept in ; here he 
decided to remain till the storm had gone down. 

' Here I will sit do^vn in a corner,' said he ; 'I am quite 
tired and require a little rest.' Then he sat down, folded 
his hands, and said his evening prayer ; and before he 
was aware of it he was asleep and dreaming, while it 
thundered and lightened without. 

When he woke it was midnight ; but the bad weather 
had passed by, and the moon shone in upon him through 
the windows. In the midst of the church stood an open 
coffin with a dead man in it who had not yet been buried. 
John was not at all timid, for he had a good conscience ; 
and he knew very well that the dead do not harm any one. 
It is living people who do harm. Two such living bad 
men stood close by the dead man, who had been placed 
here in the church till he should be buried. They had an 
evil design against him, and would not let him rest quietly 
in his coffin, but were going to throw him out before the 
church door — the poor dead man ! 

' Why will you do that ? ' asked John ; ' that is wTong 
and wicked. Let him rest, for mercy's sake.' 

' Nonsense ! ' replied the bad men ; * he has cheated 
us. He owed us money and could not pay it, and now he 's 
dead into the bargain, and we shall not get a penny ! So 
we mean to revenge ourselves properly : he shall lie like 
a dog outside the church door ! ' 

' I have not more than fifty dollars,' cried John, ' that 
is my whole inheritance ; but I will gladly give it you, if 
you will honestly promise me to leave the poor dead man 
in peace. I shall manage to get on without the money ; 
I have hearty strong limbs, and Heaven will always help me.' 

' Yes,' said these ugly bad men, ' if you will pay his 
debt w^e will do nothing to him, you may depend upon 
that ! ' And then they took the money he gave them, 
laughed aloud at his good nature, and went their way. 
But he laid the corpse out again in the coffin, and folded 


its hands, took leave of it, and went away contentedly 
through the great forest. 

All around, wherever the moon could shine through 
between the trees, he saw the graceful little elves playing 
merrily. They did not let him disturb them ; they knew 
that he was a good innocent lad ; and it is only the bad 
people who never can see the elves. Some of them were 
not larger than a finger, and had fastened up their long 
yellow hair with golden combs : they were rocking them- 
selves, two and two, on the great dew-drops that lay on 
the leaves and on the high grass ; sometimes the drop 
rolled away, and then they fell down between the long 
grass -stalks, and that occasioned much laughter and noise 
among the other little creatures. It was extremely amusing. 
They sang, and John recognized quite plainly the pretty 
songs which he had learned as a little boy. Great coloured 
spiders, with silver crowns on their heads, had to spin 
long hanging bridges and palaces from hedge to hedge ; 
and as the tiny dew-drops fell on these they looked like 
gleaming glass in the moonlight. This continued until the 
sun rose. Then the little elves crept into the flower-buds, 
and the wind caught their bridges and palaces, which flew 
through the air in the shape of spider's webs. 

John had just come out of the wood, when a strong 
man's voice called out behind him, ' Halloo, comrade ! 
whither are you journeying ? ' 

' Into the wide world ! ' he replied. ' I have neither 
father nor mother, and am but a poor lad ; but Providence 
will help me.' 

' I am going out into the wide world, too,' said the 
strange man : ' shall we two keep one another company ? ' 

' Yes, certainly,' said John ; and so they went on 
together. Soon they became very fond of each other, for 
they were both good souls. But John saw that the stranger 
was much more clever than himself. He had travelled 
through almost the whole world, and could tell of almost 
everything that existed. 

The sun already stood high when they seated themselves 
under a great tree to eat their breakfast ; and just then an 
old woman came up. Oh, she was very old, and walked 
quite bent, leaning upon a crutch ; upon her back she 



carried a bundle of firewood which she had collected in the 

forest. Her apron was tucked up, and John saw that three 

great stalks of fern and some willow^ twigs stuck out of it. 

When she was close to them, her foot slipped ; she fell 

and gave a loud scream, for she had broken her leg, the 

poor old woman ! 

John directly proposed that they should carry the old 

woman home to her dwelling ; but the stranger opened 

his knapsack, took out 
a little jar, and said that 
he had a salve there 
which would immedi- 
ately make her leg whole 
and strong, so that she 
could walk home herself, 
as if she had never broken 
her leg at all. But for 
that he required that she 
should give him the three 
rods which she carried 
in her apron, 

' That would be pay- 
ing well ! ' said the old 
woman, and she nodded 
her head in a strange 
way. She did not like 
to giveaway the rods, but 
then it was not agreeable 

to lie there with a broken leg. So she gave him the wands ; 

and as soon as he had only rubbed the ointment on her 

leg, the old mother arose, and walked much better than 

before — such was the power of this ointment. But then 

it was not to be bought at the chemist's. 

' What do you want with the rods ? ' John asked his 

travelling companion. 

' They are three capital fern brooms,' replied he. 'I like 

those very much, for I am a whimsical fellow.' 
And they went on a good way. 
' See how the sky is becoming overcast,' said John, 

pointing straight before them. * Those are terribly thick 



' No,' replied his travelling companion, ' those are not 
clouds, they are mountains — the great glorious mountains, 
on which one gets quite up over the clouds, and into the 
free air. Believe me, it is delicious ! To-morrow we shall 
certainly be far out into the world.' 

But that was not so near as it looked ; they had to walk 
for a whole day before they came to the mountains, where 
the black woods grew straight up towards heaven, and 
there were stones almost as big as a whole town. It might 
certainly be hard work to get quite across them, and for 
that reason John and his comrade went into the inn to 
rest themselves well, and gather strength for the morrow's 

Down in the great common room in the inn many guests 
were assembled, for a man was there exhibiting a puppet- 
show. He had just put up his little theatre, and the people 
were sitting round to see the play. Quite in front a fat old 
butcher had taken his seat in the very best place ; his 
great bulldog, who looked very much inclined to bite, sat 
at his side, and made big eyes, as all the rest were 

Now the play began ; and it was a very nice play, wdth 
a king and a queen in it ; they sat upon a velvet thi'one, 
and had gold crowns on their heads and long trains to their 
cloaks, for their means admitted of that. The prettiest 
of wooden dolls with glass eyes and great moustaches stood 
at all the doors, and opened and shut them so that fresh 
air might come into the room. It was a very pleasant play, 
and not at all mournful. But — goodness knows what the 
big bulldog can have been thinking of ! — just as the queen 
stood up and was walking across the boards, as the fat 
butcher did not hold him, he made a spring upon the 
stage, and seized the queen round her slender waist so 
that it cracked again. It was quite terrible ! 

The poor man who managed the play was very much 
frightened and quite sorrowful about his queen, for she was 
the daintiest little doll he possessed, and now the uglj^ bull- 
dog had bitten off her head. But afterwards, when the 
people went away, the stranger said that he would put her 
to rights again ; and then he brought out his little jar, 
and rubbed the doll with the ointment with which he had 


cured the old woman when she broke her leg. As soon as 
the doll had been rubbed, she was whole again ; yes, she 
could even move all her limbs by herself ; it was no longer 
necessary to pull her by her string. The doll was like 
a living person, only that she could not speak. The man 
who had the little puppet-show was very glad, now he had 
not to hold this doll any more. She could dance by herself, 
and none of the others could do that. 

When night came on, and all the people in the inn had 
gone to bed, there was some one who sighed so fearfully, 
and went on doing it so long, that they all got up to see 
who this could be. The man who had shown the play went 
to his little theatre, for it was there that somebody was 
sighing. All the wooden dolls lay mixed together, the king 
and all his followers ; and it was they who sighed so 
pitiably, and stared with their big glass eyes ; for they 
wished to be rubbed a little as the queen had been, so that 
they might be able to move by themselves. The queen at 
once sank on her knees, and stretched forth her beautiful 
crown, as if she begged, ' Take this from me, but rub my 
husband and my courtiers ! ' Then the poor man, the 
proprietor of the little theatre and the dolls, could not 
refrain from weeping, for he was really sorry for them. 
He immediately promised the travelling companion that 
he would give him all the money he should receive the 
next evening for the performance if the latter would only 
anoint four or five of his dolls. But the comrade said he 
did not require anything at all but the sword the man wore 
by his side ; and, on receiving this, he anointed six of the 
dolls, who immediately began to dance so gracefully that 
all the girls, the living human girls, fell a dancing too. 
The coachman and the cook danced, the waiter and the 
chambermaid, and all the strangers, and the fire-shovel 
and tongs ; but these latter fell down just as they made 
their j&rst leaps. Yes, it was a merry night ! 

Next morning John went away from them all with his 
travelling companion, up on to the high mountains, and 
through the great pine woods. They came so high up that 
the church steeples under them looked at last like little 
red berries among all the green ; and they could see very 
far, many, many miles away, where they had never been. 


So much splendour in the lovely world John had never seen 
at one time before. And the sun shone warm in the fresh 
blue air, and among the mountains he could hear the 
huntsmen blowing their horns so gaily and sweetly that 
tears came into his eyes, and he could not help calling out, 
' How kind has Heaven been to us all, to give us all the 
splendour that is in this world ! ' 

The travelling companion also stood there with folded 
hands, and looked over the forest and the towns in the 
warm sunshine. At the same time there arose lovely 
sounds over their heads : they looked up, and a great 
white swan w^as soaring in the air, and singing as they had 
never heard a bird sing till then. But the song became 
weaker and weaker ; he bowed his head and sank quite 
slowly down at their feet, where he lay dead, the beautiful 
bird ! 

' Two such splendid wings,' said the travelling com- 
panion, ' so white and large, as those which this bird has, 
are worth money ; I will take them with me. Do you see 
that it was good I got a sabre ? ' 

And so, with one blow, he cut off both the wings of the 
dead swan, for he wanted to keep them. 

They now travelled for many, many miles over the 
mountains, till at last they saw a great town before them 
with hundreds of towers, which glittered like silver in the 
sun. In the midst of the town was a splendid marble 
palace, roofed with red gold. And there the king 

John and the travelling companion would not go into 
the town at once, but remained in the inn outside the 
town, that they might dress themselves ; for they wished 
to look nice when they came out into the streets. The host 
told them that the king was a very good man, who never 
did harm to any one ; but his daughter, yes, goodness 
preserve us ! she was a bad princess. She possessed beauty 
enough — ^no one could be so pretty and so charming as she 
was — but of what use was that ? She was a wicked witch, 
through whose fault many gallant princes had lost their 
lives. She had given permission to all men to seek her 
hand. Any one might come, be he prince or beggar ; it 
was all the same to her. He had only to guess three things 


about which she questioned him. If he could do that she 
would marry him, and he was to be king over the whole 
country when her father should die ; but if he could not 
guess the three things, she caused him to be hanged or to 
have his head cut off ! So evil and so wicked was the 
beautiful princess. Her father, the old king, was very 
sorry about it ; but he could not forbid her to be so wicked, 
because he had once said that he would have nothing to 
do with her lovers ; she might do as she liked. Every time 
a prince came, and was to guess to gain the princess, he 
was unable to do it, and was hanged or lost his head. 
He had been warned in time, you see, and might have given 
over his wooing. The old king was so sorry for all this 
misery and woe, that he used to go down on his knees with 
all his soldiers for a whole day in every year, praying that 
the princess might become good ; but she would not, by 
any means. The old women who drank brandy used to 
colour it quite black before they drank it, they were in 
such deep mourning — and they certainly could not do 

' The ugly princess ! ' said John ; ' she ought really to 
have the rod ; that would do her good. If I were only the 
old king she should be punished ! ' 

Then they heard the people outside shouting ' Hurrah ! ' 
The princess came by ; and she was really so beautiful 
that all the people forgot how wicked she was, and that is 
why they cried ' Hurrah ! ' Twelve beautiful virgins, all 
in white silk gowns, and each with a golden tulip in her 
hand, rode on coal-black steeds at her side. The princess 
herself had a snow-white horse, decked with diamonds and 
rubies. Her riding-habit was all of cloth of gold, and the 
whip she held in her hand looked like a sunbeam ; the 
golden crown on her head was just like little stars out of 
the sky, and her mantle was sewn together out of more 
than a thousand beautiful butterflies' wings. In spite of 
this, she herself was much more lovely than all her clothes. 

When John saw her, his face became as red as a drop of 
blood, and he could hardly utter a word. The princess 
looked just like the beautiful lady with the golden crown, 
of whom he had dreamt on the night when his father died. 
He thought her so enchanting that he could not help loving 


her greatly. It could not be true that she was a wicked 
Avitch, who caused people to be hanged or beheaded if they 
could not guess the riddles she put to them. 

' Every one has permission to aspire to her hand, even 
the poorest beggar. I will really go to the castle, for 
I cannot help doing it ! ' 

They all told him not to attempt it, for certainly he 
would fare as all the rest had done. His travelling com- 
panion too tried to dissuade him ; but John thought it 
would end well. He brushed his shoes and his coat, washed 
his face and his hands, combed his beautiful yellow hair, 
and then went quite alone into the town and to the palace, 

' Come in ! ' said the old king, when John knocked at 
the door. 

John opened it, and the old king came towards him 
in a dressing-gown and embroidered slippers ; he had 
the crown on his head, and the sceptre in one hand and 
the orb in the other. ' Wait a little ! ' said he, and put the 
orb under his arm, so that he could reach out his hand to 
John. But as soon as he learned that his visitor was 
a suitor, he began to weep so violently that both the sceptre 
and the orb fell to the ground, and he was obliged to wipe 
his eyes with his dressing-gown. Poor old king ! 

' Give it up ! ' said he. ' You will fare badly, as all the 
others have done. Well, you shall see ! ' 

Then he led him out into the princess's pleasure -garden. 
There was a terrible sight ! In every tree there hung three 
or four kings' sons who had wooed the princess, but had 
not been able to guess the riddles she proposed to them. 
Each time that the breeze blew all the skeletons rattled, 
so that the little birds were frightened, and never dared to 
come into the garden. All the flowers were tied up to 
human bones, and in the flower-pots skulls stood and 
grinned. That was certainly a garden for a princess. 

' Here you see it,' said the old king. ' It will chance to 
you as it has chanced to all these Avhom you see here ; 
therefore you had better give it up. You will really make 
me unhappy, for I take these things very much to heart.' 

John kissed the good old king's hand, and said it would 
go well, for that he was quite enchanted with the beautiful 



Then the princess herself came riding into the courtyard, 
with all her ladies ; and they went out to her and wished 

her good morning. She was beautiful to look at, and sh-e 
gave John her hand. And he cared much more for her then 
than before — she could certainly not be a wicked witch, 


as the people asserted. Then they betook themselves to 
the hall, and the little pages waited upon them with pre- 
serves and gingerbread nuts. But the old king was quite 
sorrowful ; he could not eat anything at all. Besides, 
gingerbread nuts were too hard for him. 

It was settled that John should come to the palace again 
the next morning ; then the judges and the whole council 
would be assembled, and would hear how he succeeded 
with his answers. If it went well, he should come twice 
more ; but no one had yet come who had succeeded in 
guessing right the first time, and so they had to lose their 

John was not at all anxious as to how he should fare. 
On the contrary, he was merry, thought only of the beautiful 
princess, and felt quite certain that he should be helped ; 
but how he did not know, and preferred not to think of it. 
He danced along on the road returning to the inn, where 
his travelling companion was waiting for him. 

John could not leave off telling how polite the princess 
had been to him, and how beautiful she was. He declared 
he already longed for the next day, when he was to go into 
the palace and try his luck in guessing. 

But the travelling companion shook his head and was 
quite downcast. ' I am so fond of you ! ' said he. ' We 
might have been together a long time yet, and now I am 
to lose you already ! You poor dear John ! I should like 
to cry, but I will not disturb your merriment on the last 
evening, perhaps, we shall ever spend together. We will be 
merry, very merry ! To-morrow, when you are gone, I can 
weep undisturbed.' 

All the people in the town had heard directly that a new 
suitor for the princess had arrived ; and there was great 
sorrow on that account. The theatre remained closed ; 
the women who sold cakes tied bits of crape round their 
sugar pigs, and the king and the priests were on their knees 
in the churches. There was great lamentation ; for John 
would not, they all thought, fare better than the other 
suitors had fared. 

Towards evening the travelling companion mixed a great 
bowl of punch, and said to John, ' Now we will be very 
merry, and drink to the health of the princess.' But when 


John had drunk two glasses, he became so sleepy that he 
found it impossible to keep his eyes open, and he sank into 
a deep sleep. The travelling companion lifted him very 
gently from his chair, and laid him in the bed ; and when it 
grew to be dark night, he took the two great wings which 
he had cut off the swan, and bound them to his own shoul- 
ders. Then he put in his pocket the longest of the rods 
he had received from the old woman who had fallen and 
broken her leg ; and he opened the window and flew away 
over the town, straight towards the palace, where he seated 
himself in a corner under the window which looked into 
the bedroom of the princess. 

All was quiet in the whole town. Now the clock struck 
a quarter to twelve, the window was opened, and the 
princess came out in a long white cloak, and with black 
wings, and flew away across the town to a great mountain. 
But the travelling companion made himself invisible, so 
that she could not see him at all, and flew behind her, and 
whipped the princess with his rod, so that the blood 
actually came wherever he struck. Oh, that was a voyage 
through the air ! The wind caught her cloak, so that it 
spread out on all sides like a great sail, and the moon shone 
through it. 

' How it hails ! how it hails ! ' said the princess at 
every blow she got from the rod ; and it served her right. 
At last she arrived at the mountain, and knocked there. 
There was a rolling like thunder, as the mountain opened, 
and the princess went in. The travelling companion 
followed her, for no one could see him — he was invisible. 
They went through a great long passage, where the walls 
shone in quite a peculiar way : there were more than 
a thousand glowing spiders running up and down the walls 
and gleaming like fire. Then they came into a great hall 
built of silver and gold ; flowers as big as sunflowers, red 
and blue, shone on the walls ; but no one could pluck these 
flowers, for the stems were ugly poisonous snakes, and the 
flowers were streams of fire pouring out of their mouths. 
The whole ceiling was covered with shining glow\vorms 
and sky-blue bats, flapping their thin wings. It looked 
quite terrific ! In the middle of the floor was a throne, 
canied by four skeleton horses, with harness of fiery red 


spiders ; the throne itself was of milk-white glass, and the 
cushions were little black mice, biting each other's tails. 
Above it was a canopy of pink spider's web, trimmed with 
the prettiest little green flies, which gleamed like jewels. 
On the throne sat an old magician, with a crown on his 
ugly head and a sceptre in his hand. He kissed the princess 
on the forehead, made her sit down beside him on the 
costly throne, and then the music began. Great black 
grasshoppers played on jews'-harps, and the owl beat her 
wings upon her body, because she hadn't a drum. That 
was a strange concert ! Little black goblins with a Jack- 
o'-lantern light on their caps danced about in the hall. 
But no one could see the travelling companion : he had 
placed himself just behind the throne, and heard and saw 
everything. The courtiers, who now came in, were very 
grand and stately ; but he who could see it all knew very 
well what it all meant. They were nothing more than 
broomsticks with heads of cabbages on them, which the 
magician had animated by his power, and to whom he had 
given embroidered clothes. But that did not matter, for, 
you see, they were only wanted for show. 

After there had been a little dancing, the princess told 
the magician that she had a new suitor, and therefore she 
inquired of him what she should think of to ask the suitor 
when he should come to-morrow to the palace. 

' Listen ! ' said the magician, ' I will tell you that : you 
must choose something very easy, for then he won't think 
of it. Think of one of your shoes. That he will not guess. 
Let him have his head cut off : but don't forget, when you 
come to me to-morrow night, to bring me his eyes, for I'll 
eat them.' 

The princess curtsied very low, and said she would not 
forget the eyes. The magician opened the mountain, and 
she flew home again ; but the travelling companion 
followed her, and beat her again so hard with the rod that 
she sighed quite deeply about the heavy hail-storm, and 
hurried as much as she could to get back into the bedroom 
through the open window. The travelling companion, for 
his part, flew back to the inn, where John was still asleep, 
took off his wings, and then lay down upon the bed, for 
he might well be tired. 


It was quite early in the morning when John awoke. 
The traveUing companion also got up, and said he had had 
a wonderful dream in the night, about the princess and her 
shoe ; and he therefore begged John to ask if the princess 
had not thought about her shoe. For it was this he had 
heard from the magician in the mountain. 

But he would not tell John anything about that ; he 
merely told him to ask if she had not thought about one 
of her shoes, 

' I may just as well ask about that as about anything 
else,' said Joiin. ' Perhaps it is quite right, what you have 
dreamed. But I will bid you farewell ; for, if I guess 
\\Tong, I shall never see you more.' 

Then they embraced each other, and John went into 
the town and to the palace. The entire hall was filled with 
people : the judges sat in their arm-chairs and had eider- 
down pillows behind their heads, for they had a great deal 
to think about. The old king stood up, and wiped his 
eyes with a white pocket-handkerchief. Now the princess 
came in. She was much more beautiful than yesterday, 
and bowed to all in a very affable manner ; but to John 
she gave her hand, and said, ' Good morning to you.' 

Now John was to guess what she had thought of. Oh, 
how lovingly she looked at him ! But as soon as she 
heard the single word ' shoe ' pronounced, she became as 
white as chalk in the face, and trembled all over. But 
that availed her nothing, for Jolin had guessed right ! 

Wonderful ! How glad the old king was ! He threw 
a somersault beautiful to behold. And all the people 
clapped their hands in honour of him and of John, who 
had guessed right the first time ! 

The travelling companion beamed with delight, when he 
heard how well matters had gone. But John folded his 
hands and thanked God, who certainly would help him 
also the second and third time. The next day he was to 
guess again. 

The evening passed just like that of yesterday. While 
John slept the travelling companion flew behind the 
princess out to the mountain, and beat her even harder 
than the time before, for now he had taken two rods. No 
one saw him, and he heard everything. The princess was 


to think of her glove ; and this again he told to John as if 
it had been a dream. Thus John could guess correctlj^, 
which caused great rejoicing in the palace. The whole 
court threw somersaults, just as thej^ had seen the king 
do the first time ; but the princess lay on the sofa, and 
would not say a single word. Now, the question was, if 
John could guess properly the third time. If he succeeded, 
he was to have the beautiful princess and inherit the whole 
kingdom after the old king's death. If he failed, he was 
to lose his life, and the magician w^ould eat his beautiful 
blue eyes. 

That evening John went early to bed, said his prayers, 
and went to sleep quite quietly. But the travelling com- 
panion bound his wings to his back and his sword by his 
side, and took all three rods with him, and so flew away 
to the palace. 

It was a very dark night. The wdnd blew so hard that 
the tiles flew off from the roofs, and the trees in the garden 
v^'here the skeletons hung bent like reeds before the storm. 
The lightning flashed out every minute, and the thunder 
rolled just as if it were one peal lasting the whole night. 
Now the window opened, and the princess flew^ out. She w^as 
as pale as death ; but she laughed at the bad weather, and 
thought it was not bad enough yet. And her white cloak 
fluttered in the wind like a great sail ; but the travelling 
companion beat her with the three rods, so that the blood 
dripped upon the ground, and at last she could scarcely 
fly any farther. At length, however, she arrived at the 

' It hails and blows dreadfully ! ' she said. ' I have 
never been out in such weather.' 

' One may have too much of a good thing,' said the 
magician. Now she told him that John had also guessed 
correctly the second time ; if he did the same on the 
morrow, then he had won, and she could never more come 
out to him in the mountain, and would never be able to 
perform such feats of magic as before, and so she was 
quite dejected. ' He shall not be able to guess,' said the 
magician. * I shall think of something of which he has 
never thought, or he must be a greater conjuror than I. 
But now we will be merry.' And he took the princess by 


the hands, and they danced about with all the little goblins 
and Jack-o'-lanterns that were in the room. The red 
spiders jumped just as merrily up and down the walls : it 
looked as if fiery flowers were spurting out. The owl 
played the drum, the crickets piped, and the black grass- 
hoppers plaj^ed on the jews '-harp. It was a merry ball. 

When they had danced long enough the princess was 
obliged to go home, for she might be missed in the palace. 
The magician said he would accompany her, then they 
would have each other's company on the way. 

Then they flew away into the bad weather, and the 
travelling companion broke his three rods across their 
backs. Never had the magician been out in such a hail- 
storm. In front of the palace he said good-bye to the 
princess, and whispered to her at the same time, ' Think 
of my head.' But the travelling companion heard it ; and 
just at the moment when the princess slipped through the 
window into her bedroom, and the magician was about 
to turn back, he seized him by his long beard, and with his 
sabre cut off the ugly conjuror's head just by the shoulders, 
so that the magician did not even see him. The body he 
tln-ew out into the sea to the flshes ; but the head he only 
dipped into the water, and then tied it in his silk hand- 
kerchief, took it with him into the inn, and then lay down 
to sleep. 

Next morning he gave John the handkerchief, and told 
him not to untie it until the princess asked him to tell her 

There were so many people in the great hall of the 
palace, that they stood as close together as radishes bound 
together in a bundle. The council sat in the chairs with 
the soft pillows, and the old king had new clothes on ; the 
golden crown and sceptre had been polished, and every- 
thing looked quite stately. But the princess was very 
pale, and had a coal-black dress on, as if she were going 
to a funeral. 

' Of what have I thought ? ' she asked John. And he 
immediately untied the handkerchief, and was himself 
quite frightened when he saw the ugly magician's head. 
All present shuddered, for it was terrible to look upon ; 
but the princess sat just like a statue, and could not utter 




a single word. At length she stood up, and gave John her 
hand, for he had guessed correctly. She did not look at 
any one, only sighed aloud, and said, ' Now you are my 
lord ! — this evening we will hold our wedding,' 

' I like that ! ' cried the old king. ' So I would have it.' 
All present cried, ' Hurrah ! ' The soldiers' band played 
music in the streets, the bells rang, and the cake -women 
took off the black crape from their sugar pigs, for joy now 
reigned everywhere ; three oxen roasted whole, and stuffed 
with ducks and fowls, were placed in the middle of the 
market, that every one might cut himself a slice ; the 
fountains ran with the best wine ; and whoever bought 
a penny cake at a baker's got six buns into the bargain, 
and the buns had raisins in them. 

In the evening the whole town was illuminated ; the 
soldiers fired off the cannon, and the boys let off crackers ; 
and there was eating and drinking, clinking of glasses, and 
dancing, in the palace. All the noble gentlemen and pretty 
ladies danced with each other, and one could hear, a long 
distance off, how they sang — 

Here are many pretty girls, who all love to dance ; 
See, they whirl like spinning-wheels, retire and advance. 
Turn, my pretty maiden, do, till the sole falls from your shoe. 

But still the princess was a witch, and did not like John. 
This had been expected by the travelling companion ; and 
so he gave John three feathers out of the swan's wings, and 
a little bottle with a few drops in it, and told John that he 
must put a large tub of water before the princess's bed ; 
and when the princess was about to get into bed, he should 
give her a little push, so that she should fall into the tub ; 
and then he must dip her three times, after he had put in 
the feathers and poured in the drops ; she would then lose 
her magic qualities, and love him very much. 

John did all that the travelling companion had advised 
him to do. The princess screamed out loudly while he 
dipped her in the tub, and struggled under his hands in 
the form of a great coal-black swan with fiery eyes. When 
she came up the second time above the water, the swan 
was white, with the exception of a black ring round her 
neck. John let the water close for the third time over the 
bird, and in the same moment it was again changed to the 



beautiful princess. She was more beautiful even than 
before, and thanked him, with tears in her lovely eyes, 
that he had freed her from the magic spell. 

The next morning the old king came with his whole 
court, and then there was great congratulation till late 
into the day. Last of all came the travelling companion ; 
he had his staff in his hand and his knapsack on his back. 
John kissed him many times, and said he must not depart, — 
he must remain with the friend of whose happiness he was 
the cause. But the travelling companion shook his head, 
and said mildly and kindly, 

' No, now my time is up. I have only paid my debt. 
Do you remember the dead man whom the bad people 
wished to injure ? You gave all you possessed in order 
that he might have rest in the grave. I am that man.' 

And in the same moment he vanished. 

The wedding festivities lasted a whole month. John 
and the princess loved each other truly, and the old king 
passed many pleasant days, and let their little children 
ride on his knees and play with liis sceptre. And John 
afterwards became king over the whole country. 



Ear out in the sea the water is as blue as the petals of 
the most beautiful corn-flower, and as clear as the purest 
glass. But it is very deep, deeper than any cable will sound ; 
many steeples must be placed one above the other to reach 
from the bottom to the surface of the water. And down 
there live the sea people. 

Now, you must not believe there is nothing down there 
but the bare sand ; no, — the strangest trees and plants 
grow there, so pliable in their stalks and leaves that at 
the least motion of the water they move just as if they 
had life. All fishes, great and small, glide among the 
twigs, just as here the birds do in the trees. In the deepest 
spot of all lies the Sea King's castle : the walls are of 
coral, and the tall pointed windows of the clearest amber ; 
mussel shells form the roof, and they open and shut accord- 
ing as the water flows. It looks lovely, for in each shell 
lie gleaming pearls, a single one of which would be a great 
ornament in a queen's diadem. 

The Sea King below there had been a widower for many 
years, while his old mother kept house for him. She was 
a clever woman, but proud of her rank, so she wore twelve 
oysters on her tail, while the other great people were only 
allowed to wear six. Beyond this she was deserving of 
great praise, especially because she was very fond of her 
granddaughters, the little sea princesses. These were six 
pretty children ; but the youngest was the most beautiful 
of all. Her skin was as clear and as fine as a rose leaf, her 
eyes were as blue as the deepest sea, but, like all the rest, 
she had no feet, for her body ended in a fish-tail. 

All day long they could play in the castle, down in the 
halls, where living flowers grew out of the walls. The great 
amber windows were opened, and then the fishes swam 
in to them, just as the swallows fly in to us when we open 
our windows ; but the fishes swam straight up to the 
princesses, ate out of their hands, and let themselves be 

Outside the castle was a great garden with bright red 


and dark blue flowers : the fruit glowed like gold, and the 
flowers like flames of fire ; and they continually kept 
moving their stalks and leaves. The earth itself was the 
finest sand, but blue as the flame of brimstone. A peculiar 
blue radiance lay upon everything down there : one would 
have thought oneself high in the air, with the canopy of 
heaven above and around, rather than at the bottom of 
the deep sea. During a calm the sun could be seen ; it 
appeared like a purple flower, from which all light streamed 

Each of the little princesses had her own little place in 
the garden, where she might dig and plant at her good 
pleasure. One gave her flower-bed the form of a whale ; 
another thought it better to make hers like a little mermaid ; 
but the youngest made hers quite round, like the sun, and 
had only flowers which gleamed red as the sun itself. She 
was a strange child, quiet and thoughtful ; and when the 
other sisters made a display of the beautiful things they 
had received out of wrecked ships, she would have nothing 
beyond the red flowers which resembled the sun, except 
a pretty marble statue. This was a figure of a charming 
boy, hewn out of white clear stone, which had sunk down 
to the bottom of the sea from a wreck. She planted a pink 
weeping willow beside this statue ; the tree grew famously, 
and hung its fresh branches over the statue towards the 
blue sandy ground, where the shadow showed violet, and 
moved like the branches themselves ; it seemed as if the 
ends of the branches and the roots were playing together 
and wished to kiss each other. 

There was no greater pleasure for her than to hear of 
the world of men above them. The old grandmother had 
to tell all she knew of ships and towns, of men and animals. 
It seemed particularly beautiful to her that up on the earth 
the flowers shed fragrance, for they had none down at the 
bottom of the sea, and that the trees were green, and that 
the fishes which one saw there among the trees could sing 
so loud and clear that it was a pleasure to hear them. 
What the grandmother called fishes were the little birds ; 
otherwise they could not have understood her, for they 
had never seen a bird. 

* When you have completed your fifteenth year,' said 


the grandmother, * you shall have leave to rise up out of 
the sea, to sit on the rocks in the moonlight, and to see the 
great ships sailing by. Then you will see forests and 
towns ! ' 

In the next year one of the sisters was fifteen years of 
age, but each of the others was one year younger than the 
next ; so that the youngest had full five years to wait 
before she could come up from the bottom of the sea, and 
find out how our world looked. But one promised to tell the 
others what she had seen and what she had thought the 
most beautiful on the first day of her visit ; . for their 
grandmother could not tell them enough — there was so 
much about which they wanted information. 

No one was more anxious about these things than the 
youngest — just that one who had the longest time to wait, 
and who was always quiet and thoughtful. Many a night 
she stood by the open window, and looked up through the 
dark blue water at the fishes splashing with their fins and 
tails. Moon and stars she could see ; they certainly shone 
quite faintly, but through the water they looked much 
larger than they appear in our eyes. When something like 
a black cloud passed among them, she knew that it was 
either a whale swimming over her head, or a ship with 
many people : they certainly did not think that a pretty 
little sea maid was standing down below stretching up her 
white hands towards the keel of their ship. 

Now the eldest princess was fifteen years old, and might 
mount up to the surface of the sea. 

When she came back, she had a hundred things to tell 
— but the finest thing, she said, was to lie in the moon- 
shine on a sand-bank in the quiet sea, and to look at the 
neighbouring coast, with the large town, where the fights 
twinkled like a hundred stars, and to hear the music and 
the noise and clamour of carriages and men, to see the 
many church steeples, and to hear the sound of the bells. 
Just because she could not get up to these, she longed for 
them more than for anything. 

Oh, how the youngest sister listened ! and afterwards 
when she stood at the open window and looked up through 
the dark blue water, she thought of the great city with all 
its bustle and noise ; and then she thought she could hear 


the church bells ringing, even down to the depth where 
she was. 

In the following year, the second sister received permis- 
sion to mount upward through the water and to swim 
whither she pleased. She rose up just as the sun was 
setting ; and this spectacle, she said, was the most beau- 
tiful. The whole sky looked like gold, she said, and as to 
the clouds, she could not properly describe their beauty. 
They sailed away over her head, purple and violet -coloured, 
but far quicker than the clouds there flew a flight of wild 
swans, like a long white veil, over the water towards where 
the sun stood. She swam towards them ; but the sun 
sank, and the roseate hue faded on the sea and in the 

In the following year the next sister went up. She was 
the boldest of them all, and therefore she swam up a broad 
stream that poured its waters into the sea. She saw 
glorious green hills clothed with vines ; palaces and castles 
peeped forth from amid splendid woods ; she heard how 
all the birds sang ; and the sun shone so warm that she 
was often obliged to dive under the water to cool her 
glowing face. In a little bay she found a whole swarm of 
little mortals. They were quite naked, and splashed about 
in the water : she wanted to play with them, but they fled 
in affright, and a little black animal came — it was a dog, 
but she had never seen a dog — and it barked at her so 
terribly that she became frightened, and made out to the 
open sea. But she could never forget the glorious woods, 
the green hills, and the pretty children, who could swim 
in the water though they had not fish-tails. 

The fourth sister was not so bold : she remained out in 
the midst of the wild sea, and declared that just there it 
was most beautiful. One could see for many miles around, 
and the sky above looked like a bell of glass. She had seen 
ships, but only in the far distance — they looked like sea- 
gulls ; and the funny dolphins had thrown somersaults, 
and the great whales spouted out water from their nostrils, 
so that it looked like hundreds of fountains all around. 

Now came the turn of the fifth sister. Her birthday 
came in the winter, and so she saw what the others had 
not seen the first time. The sea looked quite green, and 


great icebergs were floating about ; each one appeared like 
a pearl, she said, and yet was much taller than the church 
steeples built by men. They showed themselves in the 
strangest forms, and shone like diamonds. She had seated 
herself upon one of the greatest of all, and let the wind 
play with her long hair ; and all the sailing ships tacked 
about in great alarm to get beyond where she sat ; but 
towards evening the sky became covered with clouds, it 
thundered and lightened, and the black waves lifted the 
great iceblocks high up, and let them glow in the red glare. 
On all the ships the sails were reefed, and there was fear 
and anguish. But she sat quietly upon her floating iceberg, 
and saw the forked blue flashes dart into the sea. 

Each of the sisters, as she came up for the first time to 
the surface of the water, was delighted with the new and 
beautiful sights she saw ; but as they now had permission, 
as grown-up girls, to go whenever they liked, it became 
indifferent to them. They wished themselves back again, 
and after a month had elapsed they said it was best of all 
down below, for there one felt so comfortably at home. 

Many an evening hour the five sisters took one another 
by the arm and rose up in a row over the water. They had 
splendid voices, more charming than any mortal could 
have ; and when a storm was approaching, so that they 
might expect that ships would go down, they swam on 
before the ships and sang lovely songs, which told how 
beautiful it was at the bottom of the sea, and exhorted the 
sailors not to be afraid to come down. But these could not 
understand the words, and thought it was the storm sigh- 
ing ; and they did not see the splendours below, for if the 
ships sank they were drowned, and came as corpses to the 
Sea King's palace. 

When the sisters thus rose up, arm in arm, in the evening 
time, through the water, the little sister stood all alone 
looking after them ; and she felt as if she must weep ; but 
the sea maid has no tears, and for this reason she suffers far 
more acutely. 

' Oh, if I were only fifteen years old ! ' said she. ' I 
know I shall love the world up there very much, and the 
people who live and dwell there.' 

At last she was really fifteen years old. 


' Now, you see, you are groAvn up,' said the grandmother, 
the old dowager. ' Come, let me adorn you like your 

And she put a wreath of white lilies in the little maid's 
hair, but each petal in the flower was half a pearl ; and 
the old lady let eight great oysters attach themselves to 
the princess's tail, in token of her high rank. 

' But that hurts so ! ' said the little sea maid, 

' Yes, one must suffer something for the sake of rank,' 
replied the old lady. 

Oh, how glad she would have been to shake off all the 
tokens of rank and lay aside the heavy wreath ! Her red 
flowers in the garden suited her better ; but she could not 
help it. ' Farewell ! ' she said, and then she rose, light 
and clear as a water-bubble, up through the sea. 

The sun had just set when she lifted her head above the 
sea, but all the clouds still shone like roses and gold, and 
in the pale red sky the evening star gleamed bright and 
beautiful. The air was mild and fresh and the sea quite 
calm. There lay a great ship with three masts ; one single 
sail only was set, for not a breeze stirred, and around in 
the shrouds and on the yards sat the sailors. There was 
music and singing, and as the evening closed in, hundreds 
of coloured lanterns were lighted up, and looked as if the 
flags of every nation were waving in the air. The little 
sea maid swam straight to the cabin window, and each 
time the sea lifted her up she could look through the panes, 
which were clear as crystal, and see many people standing 
within dressed in their best. But the handsomest of all 
was the young prince with the great black eyes : he was 
certainly not much more than sixteen years old ; it was 
his birthday, and that was the cause of all this festivity. 
The sailors were dancing upon deck ; and when the young 
prince came out, more than a hundred rockets rose into the 
air ; they shone like day, so that the little sea maid was 
quite startled, and dived under the water ; but soon she 
put out her head again, and then it seemed just as if all 
the stars of heaven were falling down upon her. She had 
never seen such fireworks. Great suns whirled around, 
glorious fiery fishes flew up into the blue air, and every- 
thing was mirrored in the clear blue sea. The ship itself 


was so brightly lit up that every separate rope could be 
seen, and the people therefore appeared the more plainly. 
Oh, how handsome the young prince was ! And he pressed 
the people's hands and smiled, while the music rang out 
in the glorious night. 

It became late ; but the little sea maid could not turn 
her eyes from the ship and from the beautiful prince. The 
coloured lanterns were extinguished, rockets ceased to fly 
into the air, and no more cannons were fired ; but there 
was a murmuring and a buzzing deep down in the sea ; 
and she sat on the water, swaying up and down, so that 
she could look into the cabin. But as the ship got more 
way, one sail after another was spread. And now the 
waves rose higher, great clouds came up, and in the dis- 
tance there was lightning. Oh ! it was going to be fearful 
weather, therefore the sailors furled the sails. The great 
ship flew in swift career over the wild sea : the waters rose 
up like great black mountains, which wanted to roll over 
the masts ; but like a swan the ship dived into the valleys 
between these high waves, and then let itself be lifted on 
high again. To the little sea maid this seemed merry sport, 
but to the sailors it appeared very differently. The ship 
groaned and creaked ; the thick planks were bent by the 
heavy blows ; the sea broke into the ship ; the mainmast 
snapped in two like a thin reed ; and the ship lay over on 
her side, while the water rushed into the hold. Now the 
little sea maid saw that the people were in peril ; she her- 
self was obliged to take care to avoid the beams and 
fragments of the ship which were floating about on the 
waters. One moment it was so pitch dark that not a single 
object could be descried, but when it lightened it became 
so bright that she could distinguish every one on board. 
Every one was doing the best he could for himself. She 
looked particularly for the young prince, and when the 
ship parted she saw him sink into the sea. At first she was 
very glad, for now he would come down to her. But then 
she remembered that people could not live in the water, 
and that when he got down to her father's palace he would 
certainly be dead. No, he must not die : so she swam 
about among the beams and planks that strewed the 
surface, quite forgetting that one of them might have 




crushed her. Diving down deep under the water, she 
again rose high up among the waves, and in this way she 
at last came to the prince, who could scarcely swim longer 
in that stormy sea. His arms and legs began to fail him, 
his beautiful eyes closed, and he would have died had the 
little sea maid*^ not come. She held his head up over the 
water, and then allowed the waves to carry her and him 
whither they listed. 

When the morning came the storm had passed by. Of 
the ship not a fragment was to be seen. The sun came up 
red and shining out of the water ; it was as if its beams 
brought back the hue of life to the cheeks of the prince, 
biit his eyes remained closed. The sea maid kissed his 
high fair forehead and put back his wet hair, and he 
seemed to her to be like the marble statue in her little 
garden : she kissed him again and hoped that he might 

Now she saw in front of her the dry land — high blue 
mountains, on whose summits the white snow gleamed as 
if swans were lying there. Down on the coast were glorious 
green forests, and a building — she could not tell whether 
it was a church or a convent — stood there. In its garden 
grew orange and citron trees, and high palms waved in 
front of the gate. The sea formed a little bay there ; it 
was quite calm, but very deep. Straight towards the rock 
where the fine white sand had been cast up, she swam 
with the handsome prince, and laid him upon the sand, 
taking especial care that his head was raised in the warm 

Now all the bells rang in the great white building, and 
many young girls came walking through the garden. Then 
the little sea maid swam farther out between some high 
stones that stood up out of the water, laid some sea foam 
upon her hair and neck, so that no one could see her little 
face, and then she watched to see who would come to the 
poor prince. 

In a short time a young girl went that way. She seemed 
to be much startled, but only for a moment ; then she 
brought more people, and the sea maid perceived that the 
prince came back to life and that he smiled at all around 
him. But he did not cast a smile at her : he did not know 



that she had saved him. And she felt very sorrowful ; and 
when he was taken away into the great building, she dived 
mournfully under the water and returned to her father's 

y '^^ 


She had always been gentle and melancholy, but now 
she became much more so. Her sisters asked her what she 
had seen the first time she rose up to the surface, but she 
would tell them nothing. 


Many an evening and many a morning she went up to 
the place where she had left the prince. She saw how the 
fruits of the garden grew ripe and were gathered ; she saw 
how the snow melted on the high mountain ; but she did 
not see the prince, and so she always returned home more 
sorrowful still. Then her only comfort was to sit in her 
little garden, and to wind her arms round the beautiful 
marble statue that resembled the prince ; but she did not 
tend her flowers ; they grew as if in a wilderness over the 
paths, and trailed their long leaves and stalks up into the 
branches of trees, so that it became quite dark there. 

At last she could endure it no longer, and told all to one 
of her sisters, and then the others heard of it too ; but 
nobody knew of it beyond these and a few other sea maids, 
who told the secret to their intimate friends. One of these 
knew who the prince was ; she too had seen the festival 
on board the ship ; and she announced whence he came 
and where his kingdom lay. 

' Come, little sister ! ' said the other princesses ; and, link- 
ing their arms together, they rose up in a long row out of the 
sea. at the place where they knew the prince's palace stood. 

This palace was built of a kind of bright yellow stone, 
with great marble staircases, one of which led directly 
down into the sea. Over the roof rose splendid gilt cupolas, 
and between the pillars which surrounded the whole 
dwelling stood marble statues which looked as if they were 
alive. Through the clear glass in the high windows one 
looked into the glorious halls, where costly silk hangings 
and tapestries were hung up, and all the walls were decked 
with splendid pictures, so that it was a perfect dehght to 
see them. In the midst of the greatest of these halls 
a great fountain plashed ; its jets shot high up towards 
the glass dome in the ceiling, through which the sun shone 
down upon the water and upon the lovely plants growing 
in the great basin. 

Now she knew where he lived, and many an evening and 
many a night she spent there on the water. She swam 
far closer to the land than any of the others would have 
dared to venture ; indeed, she went quite up the narrow 
channel under the splendid marble balcony, which threw 
a broad shadow upon the water. Here she sat and watched 

AND. F. T. D 3 


the young prince, who thought himself quite alone in the 
bright moonlight. 

Many an evening she saw him sailing, amid the sounds 
of music, in his costly boat with the waving flags ; she 
peeped up through the green reeds, and when the wind 
caught her silver-white veil, and any one saw it, they thought 
it was a white swan spreading out its wings. 

Many a night when the fishermen were on the sea with 
their torches, she heard much good told of the young 
prince ; and she rejoiced that she had saved his life when 
he was driven about, half dead, on the wild billows : she 
thought how quietly his head had reclined on her bosom, 
and how heartily she had kissed him ; but he knew nothing 
of it, and could not even dream of her. 

More and more she began to love mankind, and more 
and more she wished to be able to wander about among 
those whose world seemed far larger than her own. For 
they could fly over the sea in ships, and mount up the 
high hills far above the clouds, and the lands they possessed 
stretched out in woods and fields farther than her eyes could 
reach. There was much she wished to know, but her sisters 
could not answer all her questions ; therefore she applied 
to the old grandmother ; and the old lady knew the upper 
world, which she rightly called ' the countries above the 
sea ', very well. 

' If people are not drowned,' asked the little sea maid, 
' can they live for ever ? Do they not die as we die doAvn 
here in the sea ? ' 

' Yes,' replied the old lady. ' They too must die, and 
their life is even shorter than ours. We can live to be three 
hundred years old, but when we cease to exist here, we 
are turned into foam on the surface of the water, and have 
not even a grave down here among those we love. We 
have not an immortal soul ; we never receive another life ; 
we are like the green seaweed, which when once cut through 
can never bloom again. Men, on the contrary, have a soul 
which lives for ever, which lives on after the body has 
become dust ; it mounts up through the clear air, up to 
all the shining stars ! As we rise up out of the waters and 
behold all the lands of the earth, so they rise up to un- 
known glorious places which we can never see.' 


' Why did we not receive an immortal soul ? ' asked the 
little sea maid, sorrowfully. ' I would gladly give all the 
hundreds of years I have to live to be a human being only 
for one day, and to have a hope of partaking the heavenly 

' You must not think of that,' replied the old lady. 
' We feel ourselves far more happy and far better than 
mankind yonder.' 

' Then I am to die and to float as foam upon the sea, 
not hearing the music of the waves, nor seeing the pretty 
flowers and the red sun ? Can I not do anything to win 
an immortal soul ? ' 

' No ! ' answered the grandmother. ' Only if a man 
were to love you so that you should be more to him than 
father or mother ; if he should cling to you with his every 
thought and with all his love, and let the priest lay his 
right hand in yours with a promise of faithfulness here and 
in all eternity, then his soul would be imparted to your 
body, and you would receive a share of the happiness of 
mankind. He would give a soul to you and yet retain his 
own. But that can never come to pass. What is con- 
sidered beautiful here in the sea — the fish-tail — they would 
consider ugly on the earth : they don't understand it ; 
there one must have two clumsy supports which they call 
legs, to be called beautiful.' 

Then the little sea maid sighed, and looked mournfully 
upon her fish-tail. 

' Let us be glad ! ' said the old lady. ' Let us dance 
and leap in the three hundred years we have to live. That 
is certainly long enough ; after that we can rest ourselves 
all the better. This evening we shall have a court ball.' 

It was a splendid sight, such as is never seen on earth. 
The walls and the ceiling of the great dancing-saloon were 
of thick but transparent glass. Several hundreds of huge 
shells, pink and grass -green, stood on each side in rows, 
filled with a blue fire which lit up the whole hall and shone 
through the walls, so that the sea without was quite lit 
up ; one could see all the innumerable fishes, great and 
small, swimming towards the glass walls ; of some the 
scales gleamed with purple, while in others they shone like 
silver and gold. Through the midst of the hall flowed 


a broad stream, and on this the sea men imd sea \romen 
danced to their oim charming songs. Such beautiful voices 
the feople of the earth have not. The little sea maid sang 
the most sweetly of all. and the whole court applauded 
her. and for a moment she felt gay in her heart, for she 
knew she had the lovehest voice of all in the sea or on 
the earth. But soon she thought again of the world above 
her: she could not forget the charming prince, or her 
sorrow at not having an immortal soul like his. Therefore 
she crept out of her father's palace, and while everything 
withiu was joy and gladness, she sat melancholy in her 
little garden. Then she heard the bugle horn soimding 
through the waters, and thought. * Xow he is certainly 
sailing above, he whom I love nioie than father or mother. 
he on whom my wishes hang, and in whose hand I should 
Eke to lay my life's happiness . I will dare everything to 
win him and an immortal soul. While my sisters dance 
yonder in my father's palace. I will go to the sea witch of 
whom I have always been so much afraid : perhap«s she 
can counsel and help me." 

Xow the little sea maid went out of her garden to the 
foaming whiripools behind which the sorceress dwelt. 
She had never travelled that way before. Xo flowers 
grew there, no sea grass : only the Ixure grey sand stretched 
out towards the whirlpools, where the water rushed roimd 
like roaring mill-wheels and tore down everything it seized 
into the deep. Through the midst of these mshlng whirl- 
pools she was obliged to pass to get into the domain of the 
witch : and for a long way there was no other road except 
one which led over warm bubbling mud : this the vdtch 
called her peat-moss. Behind it lay her house in the midst 
of a s im galar forest, in which all the trees and bushes were 
polypes — half animals, half plants. They looked like 
hundred-headed snakes growing up out of the earth. AH 
the branches were loi^ slimy arms, with fingers Kke supple 
snakes, and they moved joint by joint from the root to 
the farthest point : aU that they could seize on in the 
water they hdd fast and never ag?Jn let it go. The little 
sea maid stopped in front of them quite frightened : her 
heart beat wr&i fear, and she was nearly turning back : 
but then she thought of the prince and the huinan soul. 


and her courage came back again. Slie bound hex lorig 
flying hair closely aroxmd her head, so that the polypes 
might not seize it. She put her hands together on her 
breast, and then shot forward as a fish shoots through the 
water, among the ugly polypes, which stretched out their 
supple arms and fingers after her. She saw that each of 
them held something it had seized with hundreds of little 
arms, like strong iron bands. People who had perished at 
sea and had sunk deep down, looked forth as white skeletons 
from among the polypes' arms : ships' rudders and chests 
they also held fast, and skeletons of land animals, and 
a Uttle mermaid whom they had caught and strangled : 
and this seemed the most terrible of aU to our little 

Xow she came to a great marshy place in the wood, 
where fat water-snakes roUed about, showing their u^y 
cream-coloured bodies. In the midst of this marsh was 
a house built of white bones of shipwrecked men : there 
sat the sea witch feeding a toad out of her mouth, just as 
a person might feed a little canary bird with sugar. She 
called the ugly fat water-snakes her Kttle chickens, and 
allowed them to crawl upwards and all about her. 

' I know what you want.' said the sea witch. ' It is 
stupid of you, but you shall have your way, for it will 
bring you to grief, my pretty princ-ess. You want to get 
rid of your fish-tail, and to have two supports instead of it, 
like those the people of the earth walk with, so that the 
young prince may fall in love with you. and you may get 
him and an immortal soul.' And with this the witch 
laughed loudly and disagreeably, so that the toad and 
the water-snakes tumbled down to the ground, where they 
crawled about. '' You come just in time,' said the witch : 
' after to-morrow at sunrise I could not help you until 
another year had gone by. I will prepare a draught for 
you, with which you must swim to land to-morrow before 
the sun rises, and seat yourself there and drink it : then 
your tail will part in two and shrink in and become what 
the people of the earth call beautiful legs, but it will hurt 
you — it will seem as if you were cut with a sharp sword. 
All who see you will declare you to be the prettiest human 
being they ever beheld. You will keep your grac-eful walk ; 


no dancer will be able to move so lightly as you ; but 
every step you take will be as if you trod upon sharp 
knives, and as if your blood must flow. If you will bear 
all this, I can help you.' 

' Yes ! ' said the little sea maid, with a trembling voice ; 
and she thought of the prince and the immortal soul. 

' But, remember,' said the witch, ' when you have once 
received a human form, you can never be a sea maid 
again ; you can never return through the water to your 
sisters or to your father's palace ; and if you do not win 
the prince's love, so that he forgets father and mother 
for your sake, is attached to you heart and soul, and tells 
the priest to join your hands, you will not receive an 
immortal soul. On the first morning after he has married 
another, your heart will break and you will become foam 
on the water,' 

' I will do it,' said the little sea maid ; but she became 
as pale as death. 

' But you must pay me, too,' said the witch ; ' and it is 
not a trifle that I ask. You have the finest voice of all 
here at the bottom of the water ; with that you think to 
enchant him ; but this voice you must give to me. The 
best thing you possess I will have for my costly draught ! 
I must give you my own blood in it, so that the draught 
may be sharp as a two-edged sword.' 

' But if you take away my voice,' said the little sea maid, 
' what will remain to me ? ' 

' Your beautiful form,' replied the witch, ' your graceful 
walk, and your eloquent eyes : with those you can take 
captive a human heart. Well, have you lost your courage ? 
Put out your little tongue, and then I will cut it off for 
my payment, and then you shall have the strong draught.' 

' Let it be so,' said the little sea maid. 

And the witch put on her pot to brew the draught. 

* Cleanliness is a good thing,' said she ; and she cleaned 
out the pot with the snakes, which she tied up in a big 
knot ; then she scratched herself, and let her black blood 
drop into it. The steam rose up in the strangest forms, 
enough to frighten the beholder. Every moment the witch 
threw something else into the pot ; and when it boiled 
thoroughly, there was a sound like the weeping of a crocodile. 


At last the draught was ready. It looked like the purest 

' There you have it,' said the witch. 

And she cut off the little sea maid's tongue, so that now 
she was dumb, and could neither sing nor speak. 

' If the polypes should lay hold of you when you are 
returning through my forest,' said the witch, ' just cast 
a single drop of this liquor upon them, and their arms and 
fingers will fly into a thousand pieces.' But the little sea 
maid had no need to do this : the polypes drew back in 
terror when they saw the shining liquor, that gleamed in 
her hand as if it were a twinkling star. In this way she 
soon passed through the forest, the moss, and the rushing 

She could see her father's palace. The torches were 
extinguished in the great dancing-hall, and they were 
certainly sleeping within, but she did not dare to go to 
them, now that she was dumb and was about to quit them 
for ever. She felt as if her heart would burst with sorrow. 
She crept into the garden, took a flower from each of her 
sisters' flower-beds, blew a thousand kisses towards the 
palace, and rose up through the dark blue sea. 

The sun had not yet risen when she beheld the prince's 
castle and momited the splendid marble staircase. The 
moon shone beautifully clear. The little sea maid drank 
the burning sharp draught, and it seemed as if a two- 
edged sword went through her delicate body. She fell 
down in a swoon, and lay as if she were dead. When the 
sun shone out over the sea she awoke, and felt a sharp 
pain ; but just before her stood the handsome young 
prince. He fixed his coal-black eyes upon her, so that she 
cast down her o^\ti, and then she perceived that her fish- 
tail was gone, and that she had the prettiest pair of white 
feet a little girl could have. But she had no clothes, so 
she shrouded herself in her long hair. The prince asked 
who she was and how she had come there ; and she looked 
at him mildly, but very mournfully, with her dark blue 
eyes, for she could not speak. Then he took her by the 
hand, and led her into the castle. Each step she took was, 
as the witch had told her, as if she had been treading on 
pointed needles and sharp knives, but she bore it gladly. 


At the prince's right hand she moved on, light as a soap- 
bubble, and he. like all the rest, was astonished at her 
graceful swa^ang movements. 

She now received splendid clothes of silk and muslin. 
In the castle she was the most beautiful of all ; but she 
was dumb, and could neither sing nor speak. Lovely 
slaves, dressed in silk and gold, stepped forward, and sang 
before the prince and his royal parents ; one sang more 
charmingly than all the rest, and the prince smiled at her 
and clapped his hands. Then the little sea maid became 
sad ; she knew that she herseK had sung far more sweetly, 
and thought. 

"' Oh 1 if only he could know that I have given away my 
voice for ever to be with him.' 

Xow the slaves danced pretty waving dances to the 
loveliest music ; then the little sea maid lifted her beautiful 
white arms, stood on the tips of her toes, and glided dancing 
over the floor as no one had yet danced. At each move- 
ment her beauty became more apparent, and her eyes 
spoke more directly to the heart than the songs of the 

All were delighted, and especially the prince, who called 
her his httle foundling ; and she danced again and again, 
although every time she touched the earth it seemed as 
if she were treading upon sharp knives. The prince said 
that she should always remain with him, and she received 
permission to sleep on a velvet cushion before his door. 

He had a page's dress made for her, that she might 
accompany him on horseback. They rode through the fra- 
grant woods, where the green boughs swept their shoulders 
and the httle birds sang in the fresh leaves. She climbed 
with the prince up the high mountains, and although her 
deUcate feet bled so that even the others could see it, she 
laughed at it herself, and followed him until they saw the 
clouds sailing beneath them hke a flock of birds travelling 
to distant lands. 

At home in the prince's castle, when the others slept at 
night, she went out on to the broad marble steps. It 
cooled her burning feet to stand in the cold sea water, and 
then she thought of the dear ones in the deep. 

Once, in the night-time, her sisters came arm in arm. 


Sadly they sang as they floated above the water ; and she 
beckoned to them, and they recognized her, and told her 
how she had g-rieved them all. Then they \isited her 
every night ; and once she saw in the distance her old 
grandmother, who had not been above the surface for 
many years, and the sea king with his crown upon his 
head. They stretched out their hands towards her, but 
did not venture so near the land as her sisters. 

Day by day the prince grew more fond of her. He loved 
her as one loves a dear good child, but it never came into 
his head to make her his wife ; and yet she must become 
his wife, or she would not receive an immortal soul, and 
would have to become foam on the sea on his wedding 

' Do you not love me best of them all ? ' the eyes of the 
little sea maid seemed to say, when he took her in his arms 
and kissed her fair forehead. 

' Yes, you are the dearest to me I ' said the prince, '' for 
you have the best heart of them aU. You are the most 
devoted to me, and are Hke a young girl whom I once saw, 
but whom I certainly shall not find again. I was on board 
a ship which was wrecked. The waves threw me ashore 
near a holy temple, where several young girls performed 
the service. The youngest of them found me by the shore 
and saved my life. I only saw her twice : she was the only 
one in the world I could love ; but you chase her picture 
out of my mind, you are so like her. She belongs to the 
holy temple, and therefore my good fortune has sent you 
to me. We will never part I ' 

' Ah ! he does not know that I saved his Life,' thought 
the little sea maid. ' I carried him over the sea to the 
wood where the temple stands. I sat there under the foam 
and looked to see if any one would come. I saw the beautiful 
girl whom he loves better than me.' And the sea maid 
sighed deeply — she could not weep. "' The maiden belongs 
to the holy temple,' he has said, ' and will never come out 
into the world — they will meet no more. I am with him 
and see him every day ; I ^ill cherish him, love him, give 
up my life for him.' 

But now they said that the prince was to marry, and 
that the beautiful daughter of a neighbouring king was 


to be his wife, and that was why such a beautiful ship was 
being prepared. The story was, that the prince travelled 
to visit the land of the neighbouring king, but it was done 
that he might see the king's daughter. A great company 
was to go with him. The little sea maid shook her head 
and smiled ; she knew the prince's thoughts far better 
than any of the others. 

'I must travel,' he had said to her; 'I must see the 
beautiful princess : my parents desire it, but they do not 
wish to compel me to bring her home as my bride. I cannot 
love her. She is not like the beautiful maiden in the 
temple, whom you resemble. If I were to choose a bride, 
I would rather choose you, my dear dumb foundling with 
the speaking eyes.' 

And he Idssed her red lips and played with her long hair, 
so that she dreamed of happiness and of an immortal soul. 

' You are not afraid of the sea, my dumb child ? ' said 
he, when they stood on the superb ship which was to carry 
him to the country of the neighbouring king ; and he told 
her of storm and calm, of strange fishes in the deep, and 
of what the divers had seen there. And she smiled at his 
tales, for she knew better than any one what there was at 
the bottom of the sea. 

In the moonlight night, when all were asleep, except the 
steersman who stood by the helm, she sat on the side of the 
ship gazing down through the clear water. She fancied 
she saw her father's palace. High on the battlements stood 
her old grandmother, with the silver crown on her head, 
and looking through the rushing tide up to the vessel's 
keel. Then her sisters came forth over the water, and 
looked mournfully at her and wrung their white hands. 
She beckoned to them, smiled, and wished to tell them 
that she was well and happy ; but the cabin-boy ap- 
proached her, and her sisters dived down, so that he thought 
the white objects he had seen were foam on the surface of 
the water. 

The next morning the ship sailed into the harbour of 
the neighbouring king's splendid city. All the church bells 
sounded, and from the high towers the trumpets were blown, 
while the soldiers stood there with flying colours and flash- 
ing bayonets. Each day brought some festivity with it ; 


balls and entertainments followed one another ; but the 
princess was not yet there. People said she >vas being 
educated in a holy temple far away, where she was learning 
every royal virtue. At last she arrived. 

The little sea maid was anxious to see the beauty of the 
princess, and was obliged to acknowledge it. A more 
lovely apparition she had never beheld. The princess's 
skin was pure and clear, and behind the long dark eye- 
lashes there smiled a pair of faitMul dark blue eyes. 

' You are the lady who saved me when I lay like a corpse 
upon the shore ! ' said the prince ; and he folded his 
blushing bride to his heart. ' Qh, I am too, too happy ! ' 
he cried to the little sea maid. ' The best hope I could 
have is fulfilled. You will rejoice at my happiness, for 
you are the most devoted to me of them all ! ' 

And the little sea maid kissed his hand ; and it seemed 
already to her as if her heart was broken, for his wedding 
morning was to bring death to her, and change her into 
foam on the sea. 

All the church bells were ringing, and heralds rode about 
the streets announcing the betrothal. On every altar 
fragrant oil was burning in gorgeous lamps of silver. The 
priests swung their censers, and bride and bridegroom laid 
hand in hand, and received the bishop's blessing. The 
little sea maid was dressed in cloth of gold, and held up 
the bride's train ; but her ears heard nothing of the festive 
music, her eye marked not the holy ceremony ; she thought 
of the night of her death, and of all that she had lost in 
this world. 

On the same evening the bride and bridegroom went on 
board the ship. The cannon roared, all the flags waved ; 
in the midst of the ship a costly tent of gold and purple, 
with the most beautiful cushions, had been set U]3, and 
there the married pair were to sleep in the cool still night. 

The sails swelled in the wind and the ship glided smoothly 
and lightly over the clear sea. When it grew dark, coloured 
lamps were lighted and the sailors danced merry dances 
on deck. The little sea maid thought of the first time when 
she had risen up out of the sea, and beheld a similar scene 
of splendour and joy ; and she joined in the whirling dance, 
and flitted on as the swallow fhts away when he is pur- 


sued ; and all shouted and admired her, for she had 
danced so prettily. Her delicate feet were cut as if with 
knives, but she did not feel it, for her heart was wounded 
far more painfully. She knew this was the last evening 
on which she should see him for whom she had left her 
friends and her home, and had given up her beautiful 
voice, and had suffered unheard-of pains every day, while 
he was utterly unconscious of all. It was the last evening 
she should breathe the same air with him, and behold the 
starry sky and the deep sea ; and everlasting night without 
thought or dream awaited her, for she had no soul, and 
could win none. And everything was merriment and glad- 
ness on the ship till past midnight, and she laughed and 
danced with thoughts of death in her heart. The prince 
kissed his beautiful bride, and she played with his raven 
hair, and hand in hand they went to rest in the splendid 

It became quiet on the ship ; only the helmsman stood 
by the helm, and the little sea maid leaned her white arms 
upon the bulwark and gazed out towards the east for the 
morning dawn — the first ray, she knew, would kill her. 
Then she saw her sisters rising out of the flood ; they were 
pale, like herself ; their long beautiful hair no longer 
waved in the wind — it had been cut off. 

' We have given it to the witch, that she might bring 
you help, so that you may not die to-night. She has 
given us a knife ; here it is — look ! how sharp ! Before 
the sun rises you must thrust it into the heart of the 
prince, and when the warm blood falls upon your feet they 
will grow together again into a fish-tail, and you will 
become a sea maid again, and come back to us, and live 
your three hundred years before you become dead salt sea 
foam. Make haste ! He or you must die before the sun 
rises ! Our old grandmother mourns so that her white 
hair has fallen off, as ours did under the witch's scissors. 
Kill the prince and come back ! Make haste ! Do you see 
that red streak in the sky ? In a few minutes the sun will 
rise, and you must die ! ' 

And they gave a very mournful sigh, and vanished 
beneath the waves. 

The little sea maid drew back the purple curtain from 


the tent, and saw the beautiful bride lying with her head 
on the prince's breast ; and she bent down and kissed 
his brow, and gazed up to the sky where the morning red 
was gleaming brighter and brighter ; then she looked at 
the sharp knife, and again fixed her eyes upon the prince, 
who in his sleep murmured his bride's name. She only 
was in his thoughts, and the knife trembled in the sea 
maid's hands. But then she flung it far away into the 
waves — they gleamed red where it fell, and it seemed as if 
drops of blood spurted up out of the water. Once more 
she looked with half -extinguished eyes upon the prince ; 
then she threw herself from the ship into the sea, and felt 
her frame dissolving into foam. 

Now the sun rose up out of the sea. The rays fell mild 
and warm upon the cold sea foam, and the little sea maid 
felt nothing of death. She saw the bright sun, and over 
her head sailed hundreds of glorious ethereal beings — she 
could see them through the white sails of the ship and the 
red clouds of the sky ; their speech was melody, but of 
such a spiritual kind that no human ear could hear it, just 
as no earthly eye could see them ; without wings they floated 
through the air. The little sea maid found that she had 
a frame like these, and was rising more and more out of 
the foam. 

' Whither am I going ? ' she asked ; and her voice 
sounded like that of the other beings, so spiritual, that no 
earthly music could be compared to it. 

' To the daughters of the air ! ' replied the others. 
' A sea maid has no immortal soul, and can never gain one, 
except she win the love of a mortal. Her eternal existence 
depends upon the power of another. The daughters of 
the air have likewise no immortal soul, but they can 
make themselves one through good deeds. We fly to the 
hot countries, where the close pestilent air kills men, and 
there we bring coolness. We disperse the fragrance of the 
flowers through the air, and spread refreshment and health. 
After we have striven for three hundred years to accom- 
plish all the good we can bring about, we receive an immortal 
soul and take part in the eternal happiness of men. You, 
poor little sea maid, have striven with your whole heart 
after the goal we pursue ; you have suffered and endured ; 


you have by good works raised yourself to the world of 
spirits, and can gain an immortal soul after three hundred 

And the little sea maid lifted her bright arms towards 
God's sun, and for the first time she felt tears. On the 
ship there was again life and noise. She saw the prince 
and his bride searching for her ; then they looked mourn- 
fully at the pearly foam, as if they knew that she had 
thrown herself into the waves. Invisible, she kissed the 
forehead of the bride, smiled to the prince, and mounted 
with the other children of the air on the rosy cloud which 
floated through the ether. 

' After three hundred years we shall thus float into 
Paradise ! ' 

' And we may even get there sooner,' whispered one. 
' Invisibly we float into the houses of men where children 
are, and for every day on which we find a good child that 
brings joy to its parents and deserves their love, our time 
of probation is shortened. The child does not know when 
we fly through the room ; and when we smile with joy at 
the child's conduct, a year is counted off from the three 
hundred ; but when we see a naughty or a "svicked child, 
we shed tears of grief, and for every tear a day is added 
to our time of trial.' 


Many years ago there lived an emperor, who cared so 
enormously for beautiful new clothes that he spent all his 
money upon them, that he might be very fine. He did 
not care about his soldiers, nor about the theatre, nor 
about driving in the park except to show his new clothes. 
He had a coat for every hour of the day ; and just as they 
say of a king, ' He is in council,' one always said of him, 
' The emperor is in the wardrobe.' 

In the great city in which he lived it was always very 
merry ; every day a number of strangers arrived there. 
One day two cheats came : they gave themselves out as 
weavers, and declared that they could weave the finest 


?tuff any one could imagine. Not only were their colours 
nd patterns, they said, uncommonly beautiful, but the 
lothes made of the stuff possessed the wonderful quality 
lat they became invisible to any one who was unfit for 

le office he held, or was incorrigibly stupid. 

' Those would be capital clothes ! ' thought the emperor. 
' If I wore those, I should be able to find out what men in 
my empire are not fit for the places they have ; I could 
distinguish the clever from the stupid. Yes, the stuff must 
be woven for me directly ! ' 

And he gave the two cheats a great deal of cash in hand, 
that they might begin their work at once. 

As for them, they put up two looms, and pretended to 
be working ; but they had nothing at all on their looms. 
They at once demanded the finest silk and the costliest 
gold ; this they put into their own pockets, and worked 
at the empty looms till late into the night. 

' I should like to know how far they have got on with 
the stuff,' thought the emperor. But he felt quite un- 
comfortable when he thought that those who were not 
fit for their offices could not see it. He believed, indeed, 
that he had nothing to fear for himself, but yet he pre- 
ferred first to send some one else to see how matters stood. 
All the people in the whole city knew what peculiar power 
the stuff possessed, and all were anxious to see how bad or 
how stupid their neighbours were. 

' I will send my honest old minister to the weavers,' 
thought the emperor. ' He can judge best how the stuff 
looks, for he has sense, and no one discharges his office 
better than he.' 

Now the good old minister went out into the hall where 
the two cheats sat working at the empty looms. 

' Mercy preserve us ! ' thought the old minister, and he 
opened his eyes wide. ' I cannot see anything at all ! ' 
But he did not say this. 

Both the cheats begged him to be kind enough to come 
nearer, and asked if he did not approve of the colours and 
the pattern. Then they pointed to the empty loom, and 
the poor old minister went on opening his eyes ; but he 
could see nothing, for there was nothing to see. 

' Mercy ! ' thought he, ' can I indeed be so stupid ? 



I never thought that, and not a soul must know it. Am 
I not fit for my office ? — No, it will never do for me to tell 
that I could not see the stuff.' 

' Do you say nothing to it ? ' said one of the weavers. 


.J^'nifff«f v^ ai-^timu 

' Oh, it is charming — quite enchanting ! ' answered the 
old minister, as he peered through his spectacles. ' What 
a fine pattern, and what colours ! Yes, I shall tell the 
emperor that I am very much pleased with it.' 

* Well, we are glad of that/ said both the weavers ; 


and then they named the colours, and explained the 
strange pattern. The old minister listened attentively, 
that he might be able to repeat it when he went back to 
the emperor. And he did so. 

Now the cheats asked for more money, and more silk 
and gold, which they declared they wanted for weaving. 
They put all into their own pockets, and not a thread was 
put upon the loom ; but they continued to work at the 
empty frames as before. 

The emperor soon sent again, dispatching another honest 
statesman, to see how the weaving was going on, and if the 
stuff would soon be ready. He fared just like the first : he 
looked and looked, but, as there was nothing to be seen 
but the empty looms, he could see nothing. 

' Is not that a pretty piece of stuff ? ' asked the two 
cheats ; and they displayed and explained the handsome 
pattern which was not there at all. 

' I am not stupid ! ' thought the man — ' it must be my 
good office, for w^hich I am not fit. It is funny enough, 
but I must not let it be noticed.' And so he praised the 
stuff which he did not see, and expressed his pleasure at 
the beautiful colours and the charming pattern. ' Yes, it 
is enchanting,' he said to the emperor. 

All the people in the town were talking of the gorgeous 
stuff. The emperor wished to see it himself while it was 
still upon the loom. With a whole crowd of chosen men, 
among whom were also the two honest statesmen who had 
already been there, he went to the two cunning cheats, 
who were now weaving with might and main without fibre 
or thread. 

' Is that not splendid ? ' said the two old statesmen, 
who had already been there once. ' Does not your majesty 
remark the pattern and the colours ? ' And then they 
pointed to the empty loom, for they thought that the others 
could see the stuff. 

' AVhat 's this ? ' thought the emperor. ' I can see 
nothing at all ! That is terrible. Am I stupid ? Am 
I not fit to be emperor ? That would be the most dreadful 
thing that could happen to me. — Oh, it is very pretty ! ' 
he said aloud. ' It has our exalted approbation.' And 
he nodded in a contented way, and gazed at the empty 


loom, for he would not say that he saw nothing. The whole 
suite whom he had with him looked and looked, and saw 
nothing, any more than the rest ; but, like the emperor, 
they said, ' That is pretty ! ' and counselled him to wear 
these splendid new clothes for the first time at the great 
procession that was presently to take place. ' It is splendid, 
tasteful, excellent ! ' went from mouth to mouth. On all 
sides there seemed to be general rejoicing, and the emperor 
gave each of the cheats a cross to hang at his button-hole 
and the title of Imperial Court Weaver. 

The whole night before the morning on which the pro- 
cession was to take place the cheats were up, and had 
lighted more than sixteen candles. The people could see 
that they were hard at work, completing the emperor's 
new clothes. They pretended to take the stuff down from 
the loom ; they made cuts in the air with great scissors ; 
they sewed with needles without thread ; and at last they 
said, ' Now the clothes are ready ! ' 

The emperor came himself with his noblest cavaliers ; 
and the two cheats lifted up one arm as if they were hold- 
ing something, and said, ' See, here are the trousers ! here is 
the coat ! here is the cloak ! ' and so on. ' It is as light 
as a spider's web : one would think one had nothing on ; 
but that is just the beauty of it.' 

' Yes,' said all the cavaliers ; but they could not see 
anything, for nothing was there. 

' Does your imperial majesty please to condescend to 
undress ? ' said the cheats ; ' then we will put you on 
the new clothes here in front of the great mirror.' 

The emperor took off his clothes, and the cheats pre- 
tended to put on him each of the new garments, and they 
took him round the waist, and seemed to fasten on some- 
thing ; that was the train ; and the emperor turned round 
and round before the mirror. 

' Oh, how well they look ! how capitally they fit ! ' 
said all. ' What a pattern ! what colours ! That is 
a splendid dress ! ' 

' They are standing outside with the canopy which is to 
be borne above your majesty in the procession ! ' announced 
the head master of the ceremonies. 

' Well, I am ready,' replied the emperor. ' Does it not 



suit me well ? ' And then he turned again to the mirror, 
for he wanted it to appear as if he contemplated his adorn- 
ment with great interest. 

The chamberlains, who were to carry the train, stooped 
down with their hands towards the floor, just as if they 
were picking up the mantle ; then they pretended to be 

holding something up in the air. They did not dare to 
let it be noticed that they saw nothing. 

So the emperor went in procession under the rich canopy, 
and every one in the streets said, ' How incomparable are 
the emperor's new clothes ! what a train he has to his 
mantle ! how it fits him ! ' No one would let it be per- 
ceived that he could see nothing, for that would have 
shown that he was not fit for his ofiice, or was very stupid. 
No clothes of the emperor's had ever had such a success 
as these. 


' But he has nothing on ! ' a little child cried out at 

' Just hear what that innocent says ! ' said the father ; 
and one whispered to another what the child had said. 
' There is a little child that says he has nothing on.' 

' But he has nothing on ! ' said the whole people at 
length. And the emperor shivered, for it seemed to him 
that they were right ; but he thought within himself, 
' I must go through with the procession.' And so he carried 
himself still more proudly, and the chamberlains held on 
tighter than ever, and carried the train which did not 
exist at all. 



A Beginning 

It was in Copenhagen, in East Street, and in one of 
the houses not far from the King's New Market, that a 
large company had assembled, for one must occasionally 
give a party, in order to be invited in return. Half of 
the company already sat at the card -tables, the other 
half awaited the result of the hostess's question, ' What 
shall we do now ? ' They had progressed so far, and the 
conversation went as best it could. Among other subjects 
the conversation turned upon the Middle Ages. Some 
considered that period much more interesting than our 
own times : yes, Councillor Knap defended this view so 
zealously that the lady of the house went over at once to 
his side ; and both loudly exclaimed against Oersted's 
treatise in the Almanac on old and modern times, in which 
the chief advantage is given to our own day. The councillor 
considered the times of the Danish King Hans as the 
noblest and happiest age. 

While the conversation takes this turn, only interrupted 
for a moment by the arrival of a newspaper, which contains 
nothing worth reading, we will betake ourselves to the ante- 
chamber, where the cloaks, sticks, and goloshes had found 
a place. Here sat two maids — an old one and a young one. 
One would have thought they had come to escort their 
mistresses home ; but, on looking at them more closely, 
the observer could see that they were not ordinary servants : 
their hands were too fine for that, their bearing and all 
their movements too majestic, and the cut of their dresses 
too uncommon. They were two fairies. The younger was 
not Fortune, but lady's-maid to one of her ladies of the 
bed-chamber, who carry about the more trifling gifts of 
Fortune. The elder one looked somewhat more gloomy — 
she was Care, who always goes herself in her own exalted 
person to perform her business, for then she knows that it 
is well done. 


They were telling each other where they had been that 
day. The messenger of Fortune had only transacted a few 
unimportant affairs, as, for instance, she had preserved 
a new bonnet from a shower of rain, had procured an 
honest man a bow from a titled Nobody, and so on ; but 
what she had still to relate was something quite extra- 

' I can likewise tell,' said she, ' that to-day is my birth- 
day ; and in honour of it a pair of goloshes has been 
entrusted to me, which I am to bring to the human race. 
These goloshes have the property that every one who puts 
them on is at once transported to the time and place in 
which he likes best to be — every wish in reference to time, 
place, and circumstance is at once fulfilled ; and so for 
once man can be happy here below ! ' 

' Believe me,' said Care, ' he will be very unhappy, and 
will bless the moment when he can get rid of the goloshes 

' What are you thinking of ? ' retorted the other. ' Now 
I shall put them at the door. Somebody will take them by 
mistake, and become the happy one ! ' 

You see, that was the dialogue they held. 


What Happened to the Councillor 

It was late. Councillor Knap, lost in contemplation of 
the times of King Hans, wished to get home ; and fate 
willed that instead of his own goloshes he should put on 
those of Fortune, and thus went out into East Street. 
But by the power of the goloshes he had been put back 
three hundred years — into the days of King Hans ; and 
therefore he put his foot into mud and mire in the street, 
because in those days there was not any pavement. 

' Why, this is horrible — how dirty it is here ! ' said the 
councillor. ' The good pavement is gone, and all the lamps 
are put out.' 

The moon did not yet stand high enough to give much 
light, and the air was tolerably thick, so that all objects 


seemed to melt together in the darkness. At the next 
corner a lamp hung before a picture of the Madonna, but 
the light it gave was as good as none ; he only noticed it 
when he stood just under it, and his eyes fell upon the 
painted figure of the mother and child. 

' That is probably a museum of art,' he thought, ' where 
they have forgotten to take down the sign.' 

A couple of men in the costume of those past days went 
by him. 

' How they look ! ' he said. ' They must come from 
a masquerade.' 

Suddenly there was a sound of drums and fifes, and 
torches gleamed brightly. The councillor started. And 
now he saw a strange procession go past. First came 
a whole troop of drummers, beating their instruments very 
dexterously ; they were followed by men-at-arms, with 
longbows and crossbows. The chief man in the procession 
was a clerical lord. The astonished councillor asked what 
was the meaning of this, and who the man might be. 

' That is the Bishop of Zealand.' 

' What in the world has come to the bishop ? ' said the 
councillor, with a sigh, shaking his head. ' This could not 
possibly be the bishop ! ' 

Ruminating on this, and without looking to the right or 
to the left, the councillor went through the East Street, 
and over the Highbridge Place. The bridge which led to 
the Palace Square was not to be found ; he perceived the 
shore of a shallow water, and at length encountered two 
people, who sat in a boat. 

' Do you wish to be ferried over to the Holm, sir ? ' 
they asked. 

' To the Holm ! ' repeated the councillor, who did not 
laiow, you see, in what period he was. ' I want to go to 
Christian's Haven and to Little Turf Street.' 

The men stared at him. 

* Pray tell me where the bridge is ? ' said he. * It is 
shameful that no lanterns are lighted here ; and it is as 
muddy, too, as if one were walking in a marsh.' But the 
longer he talked with the boatmen the less could he under- 
stand them. ' I don't understand your Bomholm talk,' 
he at last cried, angrily, and turned his back upon them. 


He could not find the bridge, nor was there any paling. 
' It is quite scandalous how things look here ! ' he said — 
never had he thought his own times so miserable as this 
evening. * I think it will be best if I take a cab,' thought 
he. But where were the cabs ? — not one was to be seen. 
' I shall have to go back to the King's New Market, where 
there are many carriages standing, otherwise I shall never 
get as far as Christian's Haven.' 

Now he went towards East Street, and had almost gone 
through it when the moon burst forth. 

' What in the world have they been erecting here ? ' 
he exclaimed, when he saw the East Gate, which in those 
days stood at the end of East Street. 

In the meantime, however, he found a passage open, 
and through this he came out upon our New Market ; but 
it was a broad meadow. Single bushes stood forth, and 
across the meadow ran a great canal or stream. A few 
miserable wooden booths for skippers from Holland were 
erected on the opposite shore. 

' Either I behold a Fata Morgana, or I am tipsy,' sighed 
the councillor. ' What can that be ? what can that be ? ' 

He turned back, in the full persuasion that he must be 
ill. In walking up the street he looked more closely at 
the houses ; most of them were built of laths, and many 
were only thatched with straw. 

' No, I don't feel well at all ! ' he lamented. ' And yet 
I only drank one glass of punch ! But I cannot stand that ; 
and besides, it was very foolish to give us punch and warm 
salmon. I shall mention that to our hostess — the agent's 
lady. Suppose I go back, and say how I feel ? But that 
looks ridiculous, and it is a question if they will be up 

He looked for the house, but could not fmd it. 

' That is dreadful ! ' he cried ; ' I don't know East 
Street again. Not one shop is to be seen ; old, miserable, 
tumble-down huts are all I see, as if I were at Roskilde 
or Ringstedt. Oh, I am ill ! It 's no use to make cere- 
mony. But where in all the world is the agent's house ? 
It is no longer the same ; but within there are people up 
still. I certainly must be ill ! ' 

He now reached a half -open door, where the light shone 


through a chink. It was a tavern of that date — a kind of 
beer-house. The room had the appearance of a farm- 
house kitchen in Holstein ; a number of people, consisting 
of seamen, citizens of Copenhagen, and a few scholars, sat 
in deep conversation over their jugs, and paid little atten- 
tion to the new-comer. 

' I beg pardon,' said the councillor to the hostess, ' but 
I feel very unwell ; would you let them get me a fly to go 
to Christian's Haven ? ' 

The woman looked at him and shook her head ; then she 
spoke to him in German. 

The councillor now supposed that she did not under- 
stand Danish, so he repeated his wish in the German 
language. This, and his costume, convinced the woman 
that he was a foreigner. She soon understood that he felt 
unwell, and therefore brought him a jug of water. It 
certainly tasted a little of sea water, though it had been 
taken from the spring outside. 

The councillor leaned his head on his hand, drew a deep 
breath, and thought of all the strange things that were 
happening about him. 

' Is that to-day's number of the Day ? ' he said, quite 
mechanically, for he saw that the woman was putting 
away a large sheet of paper. 

She did not understand what he meant, but handed 
him the leaf : it was a woodcut representing a strange 
appearance in the air which had been seen in the city of 

' That is very old ! ' said the councillor, who became 
quite cheerful at sight of this antiquity. ' How did you 
come by this strange leaf ? That is very interesting, 
although the whole thing is a fable. Nowadays these 
appearances are explained to be northern lights that have 
been seen ; probably they arise from electricity.' 

Those who sat nearest to him and heard his speech, 
looked at him in surprise, and one of them rose, took off 
his hat respectfully, and said, with a very grave face, 

' You must certainly be a very learned man, sir ! ' 

' Oh, no ! ' replied the councillor ; ' I can only say 
a word or two about things one ought to understand.' 

' Modestia is a beautiful virtue,' said the man. ' More- 

AND. F. T. E 


over, I must say to your speech, mihi secus videtur ; yet 
I will gladly suspend my judicium.' 

' May I ask with whom I have the pleasure of speaking ? ' 
asked the councillor. 

' I am a bachelor of theology,' replied the man. 

This answer sufficed for the councillor ; the title corre- 
sponded with the garb. 

' Certainly,' he thought, ' this must be an old village 
schoolmaster, a queer character, such as one finds some- 
times over in Jutland.' 

* This is certainly not a locus docendi' began the man ; 
' but I beg you to take the trouble to speak. You are 
doubtless well read in the ancients ? ' 

' Oh, yes,' replied the councillor. ' I am fond of reading 
useful old books ; and am fond of the modern ones, too, 
with the exception of the " Every -day Stories ", of wliich 
we have enough, in all conscience.' 

' Every-day Stories ? ' replied the bachelor, inquiringly. 

' Yes, I mean the new romances we have now.' 

' Oh ! ' said the man, with a smile, ' they are very witty, 
and are much read at court. The king is especially partial 
to the romance by Messieurs Iffven and Gaudian, which 
talks about King Arthur and his knights of the Round 
Table. He has jested about it with his noble lords.' 

' That I have certainly not yet read,' said the councillor ; 
' that must be quite a new book published by Heiberg.' 

'No,' retorted the man, ' it is not published by Heiberg, 
but by Godfrey von Gehmen.' ^ 

' Indeed ! is he the author ? ' asked the councillor. 
' That is a very old name : was not that the name of about 
the first printer who appeared in Denmark ? ' 

' Why, he is our first printer,' replied the man. 

So far it had gone well. Now one of the men began 
to speak of a pestilence which he said had been raging 
a few years ago : he meant the plague of 1484. The 
councillor supposed that he meant the cholera, and so the 
conversation went on tolerably. The Freebooters' War of 
1490 was so recent that it could not escape mention. The 
English pirates had taken ships from the very wharves, 

^ The first printer and publisher in Denmark, under King Hans. 


said the man ; and the councillor, who was well acquainted 
with the events of 1801, joined in manfully against the 
English. The rest of the talk, however, did not pass over 
so well ; every moment there was a contradiction. The 
good bachelor was terribly ignorant, and the simplest 
assertion of the councillor seemed too bold or too fantastic. 
They looked at each other, and when it became too bad, 
the bachelor spoke Latin, in the hope that he would be 
better understood ; but it was of no use. 

' How are you now ? ' asked the hostess, and she plucked 
the councillor by the sleeve. 

Now his recollection came back : in the course of the 
conversation he had forgotten everything that had hap- 

' Good heavens ! where am I ? ' he said, and he felt 
dizzy when he thought of it. 

' We'll drink claret, mead, and Bremen beer,' cried one 
of the guests, ' and you shall drink with us.' 

Two girls came in. One of them had on a cap of two 
colours. They poured out drink and bowed : the coun- 
cillor felt a cold shudder running all down his back. 
' What 's that ? what 's that ? ' he cried ; but he was 
obliged to drink with them. They took possession of the 
good man quite politely. He was in despair, and when 
one said that he was tipsy he felt not the slightest doubt 
regarding the truth of the statement, and only begged 
them to procure him a droshky. Now they thought he 
was speaking Muscovite. 

Never had he been in such rude vulgar company. 

' One would think the country was falling back into 
heathenism,' was his reflection. ' This is the most terrible 
moment of my life.' 

But at the same time the idea occurred to him to bend 
down under the table, and then to creep to the door. He 
did so ; but just as he had reached the entry the others 
discovered his intention. They seized him by the feet ; 
and now the goloshes, to his great good fortune, came off, 
and — ^the whole enchantment vanished. 

The councillor saw quite plainly, in front of him, a lamp 
burning, and behind it a great building ; everything looked 
familiar and splendid. It was East Street, as we know 



it now. He lay with his legs turned towards a porch, and 
opposite to him sat the watchman asleep. 

' Good heavens ! have I been lying here in the street 
dreaming ? ' he exclaimed. ' Yes, this is East Street sure 
enough ! how splendidly bright and gay ! It is terrible 

what an effect that one glass of punch must have had 
on me ! ' 

Two minutes afterwards he was sitting in a fly, which 
drove him out to Christian's Haven. He thought of the 
terror and anxiety he had undergone, and praised from 
his heart the happy present, our own time, which, with all 
its shortcomings, was far better than the period in which 
he had been placed a short time before. 


The Watchman's Adventures 

' On my word, yonder lies a pair o' goloshes ! ' said the 
watchman. ' They must certainly belong to the lieutenant 
who lives upstairs. They are lying close to the door.' 

The honest man would gladly have rung the bell and 
delivered them, for upstairs there was a light still burning ; 
but he did not wish to disturb the other people in the 
house, and so he let it alone. 

' It must be very warm to have a pair of such things on,' 
said he. * How nice and soft the leather is ! ' They fitted 


his feet very well. ' How droll it is in the world ! Now, 
he might lie down in his warm bed, and yet he does not ! 
There he is pacing up and down the room. He is a happy 
man ! He has neither wife nor children, and everj^ even- 
ing he is at a party. Oh, I wish I were he, then I should 
be a happy man ! ' 

As he uttered the wish, the goloshes he had put on 
produced their effect, and the watchman was transported 
into the body and being of the lieutenant. Then he stood 
up in the room, and held a little pink paper in his fingers, 
on which was a poem, a poem written by the lieutenant 
himself. For who is there who has not once in his life had 
a poetic moment ? and at such a moment, if one writes 
down one's thoughts, there is poetry. 

Yes, people write poetry when they are in love ; but 
a prudent man does not print such poems. The lieutenant 
was in love — and poor — that 's a triangle, or, so to speak, 
the half of a broken square of happiness. The lieutenant 
felt that very keenly, and so he laid his head against the 
window-frame and sighed a deep sigh. 

' The poor watchman in the street yonder is far happier 
than I. He does not know what I call want. He has 
a home, a wife, and children, who weep at his sorrow and 
rejoice at his joy. Oh ! I should be happier than I am, 
if I could pass right over into him, for he is happier 
than I!' 

In that same moment the watchman became a watch- 
man again ; for through the power of the goloshes of 
Fortune he had assumed the personality of the lieutenant ; 
but then we know he felt far less content, and preferred 
to be what he really was. So the watchman became 
a watchman again. 

' That was an ugly dream,' said he, ' but droll enough. 
It seemed to me that I was the lieutenant up yonder, and 
that it was not pleasant at all. I missed the wi|e and the 
boys, who are now^ ready to half stifle me with kisses.' 

He sat down again and nodded. The dream would not 
go quite out of his thoughts. He had the goloshes still on 
his feet. A falling star glided down the sky. 

' There went one,' said he, ' but for all that, there are 
enough left. I should like to look at those things a little 



nearer, especially the moon, for that won't vanish under 
one's hands. The student for whom my wife washes says 
that when we die we fly from one star to another. That 's 
not true, but it would be very nice. If I could only make 
a little spring up there, then my body might lie here on 
the stairs for all I care.' 

Now there are certain things we should be very cautious 
of uttering in this world, but doubly careful when we have 
goloshes of Fortune on our feet. Just hear what happened 
to the watchman. 

So far as we are concerned, we all understand the rapidity 

of dispatch by steam ; we have tried it either in railways, 
or in steamers across the sea. But this speed is as the 
crawling of the sloth or the march of the snail in com- 
parison with the swiftness with which light travels. That 
flies nineteen million times quicker than the best racer, 
and yet electricity is still quicker. De'ath is an electric 
shock we receive in our hearts, and on the wings of electricity 
the liberated soul flies away. The sunlight requires eight 
minutes and a few seconds for a journey of more than 
ninety-five millions of miles ; on the wings of electric 
power the soul requires only a few moments to accomplish 
the same flight. The space between the orbs of the universe 
is, for her, not greater than, for us, the distances between 


the houses of our friends dwelling in the same town and 
even living close together. Yet this electric shock costs 
us the life of the body here below, unless, like the watch- 
man, we have the magic goloshes on. 

In a few seconds the watchman had traversed the dis- 
tance of two hundred and sixty thousand miles to the 
moon, which body, as we know, consists of a much lighter 
material than that of our earth, and is, as we should say, 
soft as new-fallen snow. He found himself on one of the 
many ring mountains with which we are familiar from 
Dr. Madler's great map of the moon. Within the ring 
a great bowl-shaped hollow went down to the depth of 
a couple of miles. At the base of the hollow lay a town, 
of whose appearance we can only form an idea by pouring 
the white of an egg into a glass of water : the substance 
here was just as soft as white of egg, and formed similar 
towers, and cupolas, and terraces like sails, transparent 
and floating in the thin air. Our earth hung over his head 
like a great fiery red ball. 

He immediately became aware of a number of beings, 
who were certainly what we call ' men ', but their appear- 
ance was very different from ours. They had also a lan- 
guage, but no one could expect that the soul of the 
watchman should understand it. But it did understand, 

Thus the watchman's soul understood the language of 
the people in the moon very well. They disputed about 
this earth, and doubted if it could be inhabited ; the air, 
they asserted, must be too thick for a sensible moon-man 
to live there. They considered that the moon alone was 
peopled ; for that, they said, was the real body in which 
the old- world people dwelt. They also talked of politics. 

But let us go down to the East Street, and see how it 
fared with the body of the watchman. 

He sat lifeless upon the stairs. His pike had fallen out 
of his hand, and his eyes stared up at the moon, after his 
honest soul which was going about up there. 

' What 's o'clock, watchman ? ' asked a passer-by. But 
the man who didn't answer was the watchman. Then the 
passenger tweaked him quite gently by the nose, and then 
he lost his balance. There lay the body stretched out at 


full length — the man was dead. Great fear fell upon the 
man who had tweaked him ; dead the watchman was, and 
dead he remained. It was reported, and it was discussed, 
and in the morning the body was carried out to the 

That would be a pretty jest for the soul if it should chance 
to come back, and probably seek its body in the East 
Street, and not find it ! Most likely it would go first to 
the police and afterwards to the address office, that in- 
quiries might be made from thence respecting the missing 
goods ; and then it would wander out to the hospital. 
But we may console ourselves with the idea that the soul 
is most clever when it acts upon its own account ; it is the 
body that makes it stupid. 

As we have said, the watchman's body was taken to the 
hospital, and brought into the washing-room ; and natur- 
ally enough the first thing they did there was to pull off 
the goloshes ; and then the soul had to come back. It 
took its way directly towards the body, and in a few 
seconds there was life in the man. He declared that this 
had been the most terrible night of his life ; he would not 
have such feelings again, not for a shilhng ; but now it 
was past and over. 

The same day he was allowed to leave ; but the goloshes 
remained at the hospital. 


A Great Moment. — A Very Unusual Journey 

Every one who belongs to Copenhagen knows the look 
of the entrance to the Frederick's Hospital in Copenhagen ; 
but as, perhaps, a few will read this story who do not 
belong to Copenhagen, it becomes necessary to give a short 
description of it. 

The hospital is separated from the street by a tolerably 
high railing, in which the thick iron rails stand so far 
apart, that certain very thin inmates are said to have 
squeezed between them, and thus paid their little visits 
outside the premises. The part of the body most difficult 
to get through was the head ; and here, as it often happens 



in the world, small heads were the most fortunate. This 
will be sufficient as an introduction. 

One of the young volunteers, of whom one could only 
say in one sense that he had a great head, had the watch 
that evening. The rain was pouring down ; but in spite 
of this obstacle he wanted to go out, only for a quarter of 
an hour. It was needless, he thought, to tell the porter 

3r- ' I ir i -»! 

of his wish, especially if he could slip through between the 
rails. There lay the goloshes which the watchman had 
forgotten. It never occurred to him in the least that they 
were goloshes of Fortune. They would do him very good 
service in this rainy weather, and he pulled them on. 
Now the question was whether he could squeeze through 
the bars ; till now he had never tried it. There he stood. 
' I wish to goodness I had my head outside ! ' cried he. 
And immediately, though his head was very thick and 

AND. F. T. E 3 


big, it glided easily and quickly through. The goloshes 
must have understood it well ; but now the body was to 
slip through also, and that could not be done. 

' I'm too fat,' said he. ' I thought my head would be 
the worst thing. I shan't get through.' 

Now he wanted to pull his head back quickly, but he 
could not manage it : he could move his neck, Ibut that 
was all. His first feeling was one of anger, and then his 
spirits sank down to zero. The goloshes of Fortune had 
placed him in this terrible condition, and, unfortunately, 
it never occurred to him to wish himself free. No : instead 
of wishing, he only strove, and could not stir from the 
spot. The rain poured down ; not a creature was to be 
seen in the street ; he could not reach the gate -bell, and 
how was he to get loose ? He foresaw that he would have 
to remain here until the morning, and then they would have 
to send for a blacksmith, to file through the iron bars. 
But such a business is not to be done quickly. The whole 
charity school opposite would be upon its legs ; the whole 
sailors' quarter close by would come up and see him stand- 
ing in the pillory ; and a fine crowd there would be. 

' Ugh ! ' he cried, ' the blood 's rising to my head, and 
I shall go mad ! Yes, I'm going mad ! O I wish I were 
free again, then most likely it would pass over.' 

That 's what he ought to have said a little sooner. The 
very moment he had uttered the thought his head was 
free ; and now he rushed in, quite dazed with the fright 
the goloshes of Fortune had given him. But we must not 
think the whole affair was over ; there was much worse to 
come yet. 

The night passed away, and the following day too, and 
nobody sent for the goloshes. In the evening a representa- 
tion was to take place in an amateur theatre in a distant 
street. The house was crammed ; and among the audience 
was the volunteer from the hospital, who appeared to have 
forgotten his adventure of the previous evening. He had 
the goloshes on, for they had not been sent for ; and as it 
was dirty in the streets, they might do him good service. 
A new piece was recited : it was called My Aunfs Spectacles, 
These were spectacles which, when any one put them on 
in a great assembly of people, made all present look like 


cards, so that one could prophesy from them all that would 
happen in the coming year. 

The idea struck him : he would have liked to possess 
such a pair of spectacles. If they were used rightly, they 
w^ould enable the wearer to look into people's hearts ; and 
that, he thought, would be more interesting than to see 
what was going to happen in the next year ; for future 
events would be knoA\Ti in time, but the people's thoughts 

' Now I'll look at the row of ladies and gentlemen on 
the first bench : if one could look directly into their 
hearts ! yes, that must be a hollow, a sort of shop. How 
my eyes would wander about in that shop ! In every 
lady's, yonder, I should doubtless find a great milliner's 
warehouse : with this one here the shop is empty, but it 
would do no harm to have it cleaned out. But there would 
also be substantial shops. Ah, yes ! ' he continued, sigh- 
ing, ' I know one in which all the goods are first-rate, 
but there 's a shopman in it already ; that 's the only 
drawback in the whole shop ! From one and another the 
word would be " Please to step in ! " Oh that I might 
only step in, like a neat little thought, and slip through 
their hearts ! ' 

That was the word of command for the goloshes. The 
volunteer shrivelled up, and began to take a very remark- 
able journey through the hearts of the first row of spectators. 
The first heart through which he passed was that of a lady : 
but he immediately fancied himself in the Orthopaedic 
Institute, in the room where the plaster casts of deformed 
limbs are kept hanging against the walls ; the only differ- 
ence was, that these casts were formed in the institute 
when the patients came in, but here in the heart they were 
formed and preserved after the good persons had gone 
away. For they were casts of female friends, whose bodily 
and mental faults were preserved here. 

Quickly he had passed into another female heart. But 
this seemed to him like a great holy church ; the white 
dove of innocence fluttered over the high altar. Gladly 
would he have sunk down on his knees ; but he was 
obhged to go away into the next heart. Still, however, he 
heard the tones of the organ, and it seemed to him that he 


himself had become another and a better man. He felt 
himself not unworthy to enter into the next sanctuary, 
which showed itself in the form of a poor garret, contain- 
ing a sick mother. But through the window the warm sun 
streamed in, beautiful roses nodded from the little wooden 
box on the roof, and two sky-blue birds sang full of child- 
like joy, while the sick mother prayed for a blessing on 
her daughter. 

Now he crept on his hands and knees through an over- 
filled butcher's shop. There was meat, and nothing but 
meat, wherever he went. It was the heart of a rich respect- 
able man, whose name is certainly to be found in the 

Now he was in the heart of this man's wife : this heart 
was an old dilapidated pigeon-house. The husband's 
portrait was used as a mere weathercock : it stood in 
connexion with the doors, and these doors opened and shut 
according as the husband turned. 

Then he came into a cabinet of mirrors, such as we find 
in the castle of Rosenborg ; but the mirrors magnified in 
a great degree. In the middle of the floor sat, like a Grand 
Lama, the insignificant / of the proprietor, astonished in 
the contemplation of his own greatness. 

Then he fancied himself transported into a narrow 
needle-case full of pointed needles ; and he thought, 
' This must decidedly be the heart of an old maid ! ' But 
that was not the case. It was a young officer, wearing 
several orders, and of whom one said, ' He 's a man of 
intellect and heart.' 

Quite confused was the poor volunteer when he emerged 
from the heart of the last person in the first row. He could 
not arrange his thoughts, and fancied it must be his powerful 
imagination which had run away with him. 

' Gracious powers ! ' he sighed, ' I must certainly have 
a great tendency to go mad. It is also unconscionably hot 
in here : the blood is rising to my head ! ' 

And now he remembered the great event of the last 
evening, how his head had been caught between the iron 
rails of the hospital. 

' That 's where I must have caught it,' thought he. 
' I must do something at once. A Russian bath might be 


very good. I wish I were already lying on the highest 
board in the bath-house.' 

And there he lay on the highest board in the vapour 
bath ; but he was lying there in all his clothes, in boots 
and goloshes, and the hot drops from the ceiling were falling 
on his face. 

' Hi ! ' he cried, and jumped down to take a plunge 

The attendant uttered a loud cry on seeing a person 
there with all his clothes on. The volunteer had, however, 
enough presence of mind to whisper to him, ' It 's for 
a wager ! ' But the first thing he did when he got into his 
own room was to put a big blister on the nape of his neck, 
and another on his back, that they might draw out his 

Next morning he had a very sore back ; and that was 
all he had got by the goloshes of Fortune. 

The Transformation of the Copying Clerk 

The watchman, whom we assuredly have not yet for- 
gotten, in the meantime thought of the goloshes, which he 
had found and brought to the hospital. He took them 
away ; but as neither the lieutenant nor any one in the 
street would own them, they were taken to the police 

' They look exactly like my own goloshes,' said one of 
the copying gentlemen, as he looked at the unowned 
articles and put them beside his own. ' More than a shoe- 
maker's eye is required to distinguish them from one 

' Mr. Copying Clerk,' said a servant, coming in with some 

The copying clerk turned and spoke to the man : when 
he had done this, he turned to look at the goloshes again ; 
he was in great doubt if the right-hand or the left-hand 
pair belonged to him. 

' It must be those that are wet,' he thought. Now here 


he thought wrong, for these were the goloshes of Fortune ; 
but why should not the police be sometimes mistaken ? 
He put them on, thrust some papers into his pocket, and 
put a few manuscripts under his arm, for they were to be 
read at home, and abstracts to be made from them. But 
now it was Sunday morning, and the weather was fine. 
' A walk to Fredericksberg would do me good,' said he ; 
and he went out accordingly. 

There could not be a quieter, steadier person than this 
young man. We grant him his little walk with all our 
hearts ; it will certainly do him good after so much sitting. 
At first he only walked without thinking of anything, so 
the goloshes had no opportunity of displaying their magic 

In the avenue he met an acquaintance, a young poet, 
who told him that he was going to start, next day, on 
a summer trip. 

' Are you going away again already ? ' asked the copy- 
ing clerk. ' What a happy, free man you are ! You can 
fly wherever you like ; we others have a chain to our 

' But it is fastened to the bread tree ! ' replied the poet. 
' You need not be anxious for the morrow ; and when you 
grow old you get a pension.' 

' But you are better off, after all,' said the copying 
clerk. ' It must be a pleasure to sit and write poetry. 
Everybody says agreeable things to you, and then you are 
your own master. Ah, you should just try it, poring over 
the frivolous affairs in the court.' 

The poet shook his head ; the copying clerk shook his 
head also : each retained his own opinions ; and thus they 

' They are a strange race, these poets ! ' thought the 
copying clerk. ' I should like to try and enter into such 
a nature — to become a poet myself. I am certain I should 
not write such complaining verses as the rest. What 
a splendid spring day for a poet ! The air is so remarkably 
clear, the clouds are so beautiful, and the green smells 
so sweet. For many years I have not felt as I feel at this 

We already notice that he has become a poet. It was 


certainly not an obvious change, for it is a foolish fancy 
to imagine a poet different from other people, for among 
the latter there may be natures more poetical than those 
of many an acknowledged poet. The difference is only 
that the poet has a better spiritual memory : he can hold 
fast the feeling and the idea until they are embodied clearly 
and firmly in words ; and the others cannot do that. 
But the transition from an every-day nature to that of 
a poet is always a transition, and as such it must be 
noticed in the copying clerk. 

' What glorious fragrance ! ' he cried. ' How it reminds 
me of the violets at Aunt Laura's ! Yes, that was when 
I was a little boy. I have not thought of that for a long 
time. The good old lady ! She lived over there behind 
the Exchange. She always had a twig or a couple of 
green shoots in water, let the winter be as severe as it 
might. The violets bloomed, while I had to put warm 
farthings against the frozen window-panes to make peep- 
holes. That was a pretty view. Out in the canal the 
ships were frozen in, and deserted by the whole crew ; 
a screaming crow was the only living creature left. Then, 
when the spring breezes blew, it all became lively : the 
ice was sawn asunder amid shouting and cheers, the ships 
were tarred and rigged, and then they sailed away to 
strange lands. I remained here, and must always remain, 
and sit at the police office, and let others take passports 
for abroad. That 's my fate. Oh, yes ! ' and he sighed 
deeply. Suddenly he paused. ' Good heaven ! what is 
come to me ? I never thought or felt as I do now. It 
must be the spring air : it is both charming and agreeable ! ' 
He felt in his pockets for his papers. ' These will give me 
something else to think of,' said he, and let his eyes wander 
over the first leaf. There he read : ' Dame Sigbrith ; an 
original tragedy in five acts. What is that ? And it is 
my own hand. Have I written this tragedy ? The Intrigue 
on the Promennde ; or, the Day of Penance. — Vaudeville. 
But where did I get that from ? It must have been put 
into my pocket. Here is a letter. Yes, it was from the 
manager of the theatre ; the pieces were rejected, and the 
letter is not at all politely worded. H'm ! H'm ! ' said 
the copying clerk, and he sat down upon a bench : his 


thoughts were so living, his heart so soft. Involuntarily 
he grasped one of the nearest flowers ; it was a common 
little daisy. What the botanists require several lectures 
to explain to us, this flower told in a minute. It told the 
story of its birth ; it told of the strength of the sunlight, 
which spread out the delicate leaves and made them give 
out fragrance. Then he thought of the battles of life, 
which likewise awaken feelings in our breasts. Air and light 
are the lovers of the flower, but light is the favoured one. 
Towards the light it turned, and only when the light 
vanished the flower rolled her leaves together and slept 
in the embrace of the air. 

' It is light that adorns me ! ' said the flower. 

' But the air allows you to breathe,' whispered the poet's 

Just by him stood a boy, knocking with his stick in 
a muddy ditch. The drops of water spurted up among 
the green twigs, and the copying clerk thought of the 
millions of invisible animals which were cast up on high 
with the drops, which was the same to them, in proportion 
to their size, as it would be to us if we were hurled high 
over the clouds. And the copying clerk thought of this, 
and of the great change which had taken place within him ; 
he smiled. 'I sleep and dream! It is wonderful, though, 
how naturally one can dream, and yet know all the time 
that it is a dream. I should like to be able to remember 
it all clearly to-morrow when I wake. I seem to myself 
quite unusually excited. What a clear appreciation I have 
of everything, and how free I feel ! But I am certain that 
if I remember anything of it to-morrow, it will be nonsense. 
That has often been so with me before. It is with all the 
clever famous things one says and hears in dreams, as with 
the money of the elves under the earth ; when one receives 
it, it is rich and beautiful, but looked at by dayhght, it is 
nothing but stones and dried leaves. Ah ! ' he sighed, 
quite plaintively, and gazed at the chirping birds, as they 
sprang merrily from bough to bough, ' they are much 
better off than I. Flying is a noble art. Happy he who is 
born with wings. Yes, if I could change myself into any- 
thing, it should be into a lark.' 

In a moment his coat-tails and sleeves grew together 


and formed wings ; his clothes became feathers, and his 
goloshes claws. He noticed it quite plainly, and laughed 
inwardly. ' Well, now I can see that I am dreaming, but 
I have never dreamed before so wildly.' And he flew up 
into the green boughs and sang ; but there was no poetry 
in the song, for the poetic nature was gone. The goloshes, 
like every one who wishes to do any business thoroughly, 
could only do one thing at a time. He wished to be a poet, 
and he became one. Then he wished to be a little bird, 
and, in changing thus, the former peculiarity was lost. 

' That is very funny ! ' he said. ' In the daytime I sit 
in the police office among the driest of law papers ; at 
night I can dream that 1 am flying about, as a lark in the 
Fredericksberg Garden. One could really write quite 
a popular comedy upon it.' 

Now he fiew down into the grass, turned his head in 
every direction, and beat with his beak upon the bending 
stalks of grass, which, in proportion to his size, seemed to 
him as long as palm branches of Northern Africa. 

It was only for a moment, and then all around him 
became as the blackest night. It seemed to him that some 
im^nense substance was cast over him ; it was a great cap, 
which a boy threw over the bird. A hand came in and 
seized the copying clerk by the back and wings in a way 
that made him chirp. In his first terror he cried aloud, 
' You impudent rascal ! I am copying clerk at the police 
office ! ' But that sounded to the boy only like ' piep ! 
piep ! ' and he tapped the bird on the beak and wandered 
on with him. 

In the alley the boy met with two other boys, who 
belonged to the educated classes, socially speaking ; but, 
according to abilities, they ranked in the lowest class in 
the school. These bought the bird for threepence ; and 
so the copying clerk was carried back to Copenhagen. 

' It 's a good thing that I am dreaming,' he said, ' or 
I should become really angry. First I was a poet, and now 
I'm a lark ! Yes, it must have been the poetic nature 
which transformed me into that little creature. It is 
a miserable state of things, especially when one falls into 
the hands of boys. I should like to know what the end of 
it will be.' 


The boys carried him into a very elegant room. A stout 
smiling lady received them. But she was not at all gratified 
to see the common field bird, as she called the lark, coming 
in too. Only for that day she would consent to it ; but 
they must put the bird in the empty cage which stood by 
the window. 

' Perhaps that will please Polly,' she added, and laughed 
at a great parrot swinging himself proudly in his ring in 
the handsome brass cage. 

' It 's Polly's birthday,' she said, fatuously, ' so the little 
field bird shall congratulate him.' 

Polly did not answer a single word ; he only swung 
proudly to and fro. But a pretty canary bird, who had 
been brought here last summer out of his warm fragrant 
fatherland, began to sing loudly. 

' Screamer ! ' said the lady ; and she threw a white 
handkerchief over the cage. 

' Piep ! piep ! ' sighed he ; ' here 's a terrible snow- 
storm.' And thus sighing, he was silent. 

The copying clerk, or, as the lady called him, the field 
bird, was placed in a little cage close to the canary, and 
not far from the parrot. The only human words which 
Polly could say, and which often sounded very comically, 
were, ' Gome, let '5 be men now ! ' Everything else that he 
screamed out was just as unintelligible as the song of the 
canary bird, except for the copying clerk, who was now 
also a bird, and who understood his comrades very well. 

' I flew under the green palm tree and the blossoming 
almond tree ! ' sang the canary. I flew with my brothers 
and sisters over the beautiful flowers and over the bright 
sea. where the plants waved in the depths. I also saw 
many beautiful parrots, who told the merriest stories.' 

' Those were wild birds,' replied the parrot. ' They had 
no education. Let us be men now ! Why don't you 
laugh ? If the lady and all the strangers could laugh at 
it, so can you. It is a great fault to have no taste for what 
is humorous. No, let us be men now.' 

' Do you remember the pretty girls who danced under 
the tents spread out beneath the blooming trees ? Do 
you remember the sweet fruits and the cooling juice in the 
wild plants 1 ' 


' Oh, yes ! ' replied the parrot ; ' but here I am far 
better off. I have good care and genteel treatment. 
I know I've a good head, and I don't ask for more. Let 
us be men now. You are what they call a poetic soul. 
I have thorough knowledge and wit. You have genius, 
but no prudence. You mount up into those high natural 
notes of yours, and then you get covered up. That is 
never done to me ; no, no, for I cost them a little more. 
I make an impression with my beak, and can cast wit 
round me. Now let us be men ! ' 

' O my warm flowery fatherland ! ' sang the canary. 
' I will praise thy dark green trees and thy quiet bays, 
where the branches kiss the clear watery mirror ; I'll sing 
of the joy of all my shining brothers and sisters, where 
the plants grow by the desert springs.' 

' Now, pray leave off these dismal tones,' cried the 
parrot. ' Sing something at which one can laugh ! Laughter 
is the sign of the highest mental development. Look if 
a dog or a horse can laugh ! No : they can cry ; but 
laughter — that is given to men alone. Ho ! ho ! ho 1 ' 
screamed Polly, and finished the jest with ' Let us be men 

' You little grey Danish bird,' said the canary ; ' so 
you have also become a prisoner. It is certainly cold in 
your woods, but still liberty is there. Fly out ! they have 
forgotten to close your cage ; the upper window is open. 
Fly ! fly ! ' 

Instinctively the copying clerk obeyed, and flew forth 
from his prison. At the same moment the half -opened door 
of the next room creaked, and stealthily, with fierce spark- 
ling eyes, the house cat crept in, and made chase upon him. 
The canary fluttered in its cage, the parrot flapped its wings, 
and cried, ' Let us be men now.' The copying clerk felt 
mortally afraid, and flew through the window, away over the 
houses and streets ; at last he was obliged to rest a little. 

The house opposite had a homelike look : one of the 
windows stood open, and he flew in. It was his own room : 
he perched upon the table. 

' Let us be men now,' he broke out, involuntarily imitat- 
ing the parrot ; and in the same moment he was restored to 
the form of the copying clerk ; but he was sitting on the table. 


' Heaven preserve me ! ' he cried. ' How could I have 
come here and fallen so soundly asleep ? That was an 
unquiet dream, too, that I had. The whole thing was 
great nonsense.' 


The Best that the Goloshes brought 

On the following day, quite early in the morning, as the 
clerk still lay in bed, there came a tapping at his door : 
it was his neighbour who lodged on the same floor, a young 
theologian ; and he came in. 

' Lend me your goloshes,' said he. 'It is very wet in 
the garden, but the sun shines gloriously, and I should like 
to smoke a pipe down there.' 

He put on the goloshes, and was soon in the garden, 
which contained a plum tree and a pear tree. Even 
a little garden like this is highly prized in Copenhagen. 

The student wandered up and down the ^Dath ; it was 
only six o'clock, and a post-horn sounded out in the street. 

' Oh, travelling ! travelling ! ' he cried out, ' that 's the 
greatest happiness in all the world. That 's the highest 
goal of my wishes. Then this disquietude that I feel would 
be stilled. But it would have to be far away. I should 
like to see beautiful Switzerland, to travel through Italy, 
to ' 

Yes, it was a good thing that the goloshes took effect 
immediately, for he might have gone too far even for him- 
self, and for us others too. He was travelling ; he was 
in the midst of Switzerland, packed tightly with eight 
others in the interior of a diligence. He had a headache 
and a weary feeling in his neck, and his feet had gone to 
sleep, for they were swollen by the heavy boots he had on. 
He was hovering in a condition between sleeping and 
waking. In his right-hand jDocket he had his letter of 
credit, in his left-hand pocket his passport, and a few louis 
d'or were sewn into a little bag he wore on his breast. 
Whenever he dozed off, he dreamed he had lost one or 
other of these possessions ; and then he would start up 
in a feverish way, and the first movement his hand made 



was to describe a triangle from left to right, and towards 
his breast, to feel whether he still possessed them or not. 
Umbrellas, hats, and walking-sticks swmig in the net over 
him, and almost took away the prospect, which was 
impressive enough : he glanced out at it, and his heart 

sang what one poet at least, whom we know, has sung in 
Switzerland, but has not yet printed : 

'Tis a prospect as fine as heart can desire 

Before me Mont Blanc the rough : 
'Tis pleasant to tarry here and admire. 

If only you've money enough. 

Great, grave, and dark was all nature around him. The 
pine woods looked like tufts of heather upon the high 
rocks, whose summits were lost in cloudy mists ; and then 
it began to snow, and the wind blew cold. 

' Ugh ! ' he sighed : ' if we were only on the other side 
of the Alps, then it would be summer, and I should have 
got money on my letter of credit : my anxiety about this 
prevents me from enjoying Switzerland. Oh, if I were 
only at the other side ! ' 

And then he was on the other side, in the midst of Italy, 
between Florence and Rome. The lake Thrasymene lay 
spread out in the evening light, like flaming gold among 
the dark blue hills. Here, where Hannibal beat Flaminius, 


the grape-vines held each other by their green fingers ; 
pretty half-naked children were keeping a herd of coal- 
black pigs under a clump of fragrant laurels by the way- 
side. If we could reproduce this scene accurately, all would 
cry, ' Glorious Italy ! ' But neither the theologian nor any 
of his travelling companions in the carriage of the vetturino 
thought this. 

Poisonous flies and gnats flew into the carriage by 
thousands. In vain they beat the air frantically with 
a myrtle branch — the flies stung theni nevertheless. There 
was not one person in the carriage whose face was not 
swollen and covered with stings. The poor horses looked 
miserable, the flies tormented them wofully, and it only 
mended the matter for a moment when the coachman 
dismounted and scraped them clean from the insects that 
sat upon them in great swarms. Now the sun sank down ; 
a short but icy coldness pervaded all nature ; it was not 
at all agreeable, but all around the hills and clouds put on 
the most beautiful green colour, so clear, so shining — yes, 
go and see it in person, that is better than any description. 
It was a glorious spectacle ; but the stomachs of all were 
empty and their bodies exhausted, and every wish of the 
heart turned towards a resting-place for the night ; but 
how could that be won ? To descry this resting-place all 
eyes were turned more eagerly to the road than towards 
the beauties of nature. 

The way now led through an olive wood : he could have 
fancied himself passing between knotty willow trunks at 
home. Here, by the solitary inn, a dozen crippled beggars 
had taken up their positions : the quickest among them 
looked, to quote an expression of Marryat's, like the eldest 
son of Famine, who had just come of age. The others 
were either blind or had withered legs, so that they crept 
about on their hands, or they had withered arms with 
fingerless hands. This was misery in rags indeed. ' EcceU 
lenza, miserabili ! ' they sighed, and stretched forth their 
diseased limbs. The hostess herself, with bare feet, untidy 
hair, and dressed in a dirty blouse, received her guests. 
The doors were tied up with string ; the floor of the room 
was of brick, and half of it was grubbed up ; bats flew 
about under the roof, and the smell within 


' Yes, lay the table down in the stable,' said one of the 
travellers. ' There, at least, one knows what one is 

The windows were opened, so that a little fresh air might 
find its way in ; but quicker than the air came the withered 
arms and the continual whining, ' Miserabili, Eccellenza I ' 
On the walls were many inscriptions ; half of them were 
against ' La bella Italia.' 

The supper was served. It consisted of a watery soup, 
seasoned with pepper and rancid oil. This last dainty 
played a chief part in the salad ; musty eggs and roasted 
cocks'-combs were the best dishes. Even the wine had 
a strange taste — it was a dreadful mixture. 

At night the boxes were placed against the doors. One 
of the travellers kept watch while the rest slept. The 
theologian was the sentry. Oh, how close it was in there ! 
The heat oppressed him, the gnats buzzed and stung, and 
the miserabili outside moaned in their dreams. 

' Yes, travelling would be all very well,' said the theo- 
logian, ' if one had no body. If the body could rest, and 
the mind fly ! Wherever I go, I find a want that oppresses 
my heart : it is something better than the present moment 
that I desire. Yes, something better — the best ; but what 
is that, and where is it ? In my own heart I know very 
well what I want : I want to attain to a happy goal, the 
happiest of all ! ' 

And as soon as the word was spoken he found himself 
at home. The long white curtains hung down from the 
windows, and in the middle of the room stood a black 
coffin ; in this he wass lying in the quiet sleep of death : 
his wish was fulfilled — his body was at rest and his spirit 
roaming. ' Esteem no man happy who is not yet in his 
grave,' were the words of Solon ; here their force was 
proved anew. 

Every corpse is a sphinx of immortality ; the sphinx 
here also in the black sarcophagus answered, what the living 
man had laid down two days before : 

Thou strong, stern Death ! Thy silence waketh fear, 
Thou leavest mould'ring gravestones for thy traces. 
Shall not the soul see Jacob's ladder here ? 
No resurrection type but churchyard grasses ? 


The deepest woes escape the world's dull eye : 
Thou that alone on duty's path hast sped. 
Heavier those duties on thy heart would lie 
Than lies the earth now on thy coffined head. 

Two forms were moving to and fro in the room. We 
know them both. They were the Fairy of Care and the 
Ambassadress of Happiness. They bent down over the 
dead man. 

' Do you see ? ' said Care. ' What happiness have your 
goloshes brought to men ? ' 

' They have at least brought a permanent benefit to him 
who slumbers here,' replied Happiness. 

' Oh, no ! ' said Care. ' He went away of himself, he 
was not summoned. His spirit was not strong enough to 
lift the treasures which he had been destined to lift. I will 
do him a favour.' 

And she drew the goloshes from liis feet ; then the sleep 
of death was ended, and the awakened man raised himself 
up. Care vanished, and with her the goloshes disappeared 
too : doubtless she looked upon them as her property. 


There were once five and twenty tin soldiers ; they 
were all brothers, for they had all been born of one old 
tin spoon. They shouldered their muskets, and looked 
straight before them : their uniform was red and blue, 
and very splendid. The first thing they had heard in the 
world, when the lid was taken off their box, had been the 
words ' Tin soldiers ' ! These words were uttered by a little 
boy, clapping his hands : the soldiers had been given to 
him, for it was his birthday ; and now he put them upon 
the table. Each soldier was exactly like the rest only one 
of them was a little different, he had but one leg, for he 
had been cast last of all, and there had not been enough 
tin to finish him ; but he stood as firmly upon his one leg 
as the others on their two ; and it was just this soldier 
who became remarkable. 

On the table on which they had been placed stood many 
other playthings, but the toy that attracted most attention 


was a neat castle of cardboard. Through the Httle windows 
one could see straight into the hall. Before the castle 
some little trees were placed round a little looking-glass, 
which was to represent a clear lake. Waxen swans swam 
on this lake, and were mirrored in it. This was all very 
pretty ; but the prettiest of all was a little lady, who 
stood at the open door of the castle : she was also cut out 
in paper, but she had a dress of the clearest gauze, and 
a little narrow blue ribbon over her shoulders, that looked 
like a scarf ; and in the middle of this ribbon was a shining 
tinsel rose as big as her whole face. The little lady stretched 
out both her arms, for she was a dancer ; and then she 
lifted one leg so high that the tin soldier could not see it 
at all, and thought that, like himself, she had but one leg. 

' That would be the wife for me,' thought he ; ' but she 
is very grand. She lives in a castle, and I have only a box, 
and there are five and twenty of us in that. It is no 
place for her. But I must try to make acquaintance 
with her.' 

And then he lay down at full length behind a snuff-box 
which was on the table ; there he could easily watch the 
little dainty lady, who continued to stand on one leg 
without losing her balance. 

When the evening came, all the other tin soldiers were 
put into their box, and the people in the house went to 
bed. Now the toys began to play at ' visiting,' and at 
' war,' and ' giving balls.' The tin soldiers rattled in their 
box, for they wanted to join, but could not lift the lid. 
The nutcracker threw somersaults, and the pencil amused 
itself on the table : there was so much noise that the 
canary woke up, and began to speak too, and even in 
verse. The only two who did not stir from their places 
were the tin soldier and the dancing lady : she stood 
straight up on the point of one of her toes, and stretched 
out both her arms ; and he was just as enduring on his one 
leg ; and he never turned his eyes away from her. 

Now the clock struck twelve — and, bounce ! — the lid flew 
off the snuff-box ; but there was not snuff in it, but a little 
black goblin : you see it was a trick. 

' Tin soldier ! ' said the goblin, ' will you keep your eyes 
to yourself ? ' 



But the tin soldier pretended not to hear him. 

' Just you wait till to-morrow ! ' said the goblin. 

But when the morning came, and the children got up, 
the tin soldier was placed in the window ; and whether 
it was the goblin or the draught that did it, all at once 
the window flew open, and the soldier fell head over heels 

out of the third story. That was a terrible passage ! He 
put his leg straight up, and stuck with his helmet downwards 
and his bayonet between the paving-stones. 

The servant-maid and the little boy came down directly 
to look for him, but though they almost trod upon him 
they could not see him. If the soldier had cried out ' Here 
I am ! ' they would have found him ; but he did not think 
it fitting to call out loudly, because he was in uniform. 


Now it began to rain ; the drops soon fell thicker, and 
at last it came down in a complete stream. When the rain 
was past, two street boys came by. 

' Just look ! ' said one of them, ' there lies a tin soldier. 
He shall go out sailing.' 

And they made a boat out of a newspaper, and put the 
tin soldier in the middle of it ; and so he sailed down the 
gutter, and the two boys ran beside him and clapped their 
hands. Goodness preserve us ! how the waves rose in that 
gutter, and how fast the stream ran ! But then it had 
been a heavy rain. The paper boat rocked up and down, 
and sometimes turned round so rapidly that the tin soldier 
trembled ; but he remained firm, and never changed 
countenance, but looked straight before him, and shouldered 
his musket. 

All at once the boat went into a long drain, and it 
became as dark as if he had been in his box. 

' Where am I going now ? ' he thought. ' Yes, yes, 
that 's the goblin's fault. Ah ! if the little lady only sat 
here with me in the boat, it might be twice as dark for what 
I should care.' 

Suddenly there came a great water-rat, which lived under 
the drain. 

' Have you a passport ? ' said the rat. ' Give me your 

But the tin soldier kept silence, and held his musket 
tighter than ever. 

The boat went on, but the rat came after it. Ugh ! how 
he gnashed his teeth, and called out to the bits of straw 
and wood, 

' Hold him ! hold him ! he hasn't paid toll — he hasn't 
shown his passport ! ' 

But the stream became stronger and stronger. The tin 
soldier could see the bright daylight where the arch ended ; 
but he heard a roaring noise, which might well frighten 
a bolder man. Only think — just where the tunnel ended, 
the drain ran into a great canal ; and for him that would 
have been as dangerous as for us to be carried down a great 

Now he was already so near it that he could not stop. 
The boat was carried out, the poor tin soldier stiffening 


himself as much as he could, and no one could say that he 
moved an eyelid. The boat whirled round three or four 
times, and was full of water to the very edge — it must 
sink. The tin soldier stood up to his neck in water, and 
the boat sank deeper and deeper, and the paper was 
loosened more and more ; and now the water closed over 
the soldier's head. Then he thought of the pretty little 
dancer, and how he should never see her again ; and it 
sounded in the soldier's ears : 

Farewell, farewell, thou warrior brave. 
For this day thou must die ! 

And now the paper parted, and the tin soldier fell out ; 
but at that moment he was snapped up by a great fish. 

Oh, how dark it was in that fish's body ! It was darker 
yet than in the drain tunnel ; and then it was very narrow 
too. But the tin soldier remained unmoved, and lay at 
full length shouldering his musket. 

The fish swam to and fro ; he made the most wonderful 
movements, and then became quite still. At last something 
flashed through him like lightning. The daylight shone 
quite clear, and a voice said aloud, ' The tin soldier ! ' 
The fish had been caught, carried to market, bought, and 
taken into the kitchen, where the cook cut him open with 
a large knife. She seized the soldier round the body with 
both her hands, and carried him into the room, where all 
were anxious to see the remarkable man who had travelled 
about in the inside of a fish ; but the tin soldier was not 
at all proud. They placed him on the table, and there — 
no ! What curious things may happen in the world ! The 
tin soldier was in the very room in which he had been 
before ! he saw the same children, and the same toys 
stood on the table ; and there was the pretty castle with 
the graceful little dancer. She was still balancing herself 
on one leg, and held the other extended in the air. She 
was hardy too. That moved the tin soldier : he was very 
nearly weeping tin tears, but that would not have been 
proper. He looked at her and she at him, but they said 
nothing to each other. 

Then one of the little boys took the tin soldier and flung 
him into the stove. He gave no reason for doing this. It 
must have been the fault of the goblin in the snuff-box. 


The tin soldier stood there quite illuminated, and felt 
a heat that was terrible ; but whether this heat proceeded 
from the real fire or from love he did not know. The 
colours had quite gone off from him ; but whether that 
had happened on the journey, or had been caused by grief, 
no one could say. He looked at the little lady, she looked 
at him, and he felt that he was melting ; but he still stood 
firm, shouldering his musket. Then suddenly the door flew 
open, and the draught of air caught the dancer, and she 
flew like a sylph just into the stove to the tin soldier, and 
flashed up in a flame, and she was gone. Then the tin 
soldier melted down into a lump, and when the servant- 
maid took the ashes out next day, she found him in the 
shape of a little tin heart. But of the dancer nothing 
remained but the tinsel rose, and that was burned as black 
as a coal. 


Far away, where the swallows fly when our winter comes 
on, lived a King who had eleven sons, and one daughter 
named Eliza. The eleven brothers were Princes, and each 
went to school with a star on his breast and his sword by 
his side. They wrote with pencils of diamond upon slates 
of gold, and learned by heart just as well as they read ; 
one could see directly that they were Princes. Their 
sister Eliza sat upon a little stool of plate glass, and had 
a picture-book which had been bought for the value of 
half a kingdom. 

Oh, the children were particularly well off ; but it was 
not always to remain so. 

Their father, who was King of the whole country, married 
a bad Queen who did not love the poor children at all. On 
the very first day they could notice this. In the whole 
palace there was great feasting, and the children were 
playing at receiving guests : but instead of these children 
receiving, as they had been accustomed to do, all the spare 
cake and all the roasted apples, they only had some sand 
given them in a tea-cup, and were told that they might 
make believe that was something good. 

The next week the Queen took the little sister Eliza into 


the country, to a peasant and his wife ; and but a short 
time had elapsed before she told the King so many false- 
hoods about the poor Princes that he did not trouble 
himself any more about them. 

' Fly out into the world and get your own living,' said 
the wicked Queen. ' Fly like great birds without a voice.' 

But she could not make it so bad for them as she would 
have liked, for they became eleven magnificent wild swans. 
With a strange cry they flew out of the palace windows, 
far over the park and into the wood. 

It was yet quite early morning when they came by the 
place where their sister Eliza lay asleep in the peasant's 
room. Here they hovered over the roof, turned their long 
necks, and flapped their wings ; but no one heard or saw 
it. They were obliged to fly on, high up towards the 
clouds, far away into the wide world ; there they flew into 
a great dark wood, which stretched away to the sea shore. 

Poor little Eliza stood in the peasant's room and played 
with a green leaf, for she had no other playthings. And 
she pricked a hole in the leaf, and looked through it up 
at the sun, and it seemed to her that she saw her brothers' 
clear eyes ; each time the warm sun shone upon her cheeks 
she thought of all the kisses they had given her. 

Each day passed just like the rest. When the wind 
swept through the great rose hedges outside the house, it 
seemed to whisper to them, ' What can be more beautiful 
than you ? ' But the roses shook their heads and answered, 
' Eliza ! ' And when the old woman sat in front of her 
door on Sunday and read in her hymn-book, the wind 
turned the leaves and said to the book, ' Who can be more 
pious than you ? ' and the hymn-book said, ' Eliza ! ' 
And what the rose bushes and the hymn-book said was 
the simple truth. 

When she was fifteen years old she was to go home. 
And when the Queen saw how beautiful she was, she 
became spiteful and filled with hatred towards her. She 
would have been glad to change her into a wild swan, like 
her brothers, but she did not dare to do so at once, because 
the King wished to see his daughter. 

Early in the morning the Queen went into the bath, 
which was built of white marble, and decked with soft 


cushions and the most splendid tapestry ; and she took 
three toads and kissed them, and said to the first, 

' Sit upon Eliza's head when she comes into the bath, 
that she may become as stupid as you. — Seat yourself upon 
her forehead,' she said to the second, ' that she may 
become as ugly as you, and her father may not know her. — 
Rest on her heart,' she whispered to the third, ' that she 
may receive an evil mind and suffer pain from it.' 

Then she put the toads into the clear water, which at 
once assumed a green colour ; and calling Eliza, caused 
her to undress and step into the water. And while Eliza 
dived, one of the toads sat upon her hair, and the second 
on her forehead, and the third on her heart ; but she did 
not seem to notice it ; and as soon as she rose, three red 
poppies were floating on the water. If the creatures had 
not been poisonous, and if the witch had not kissed them, 
they would have been changed into red roses. But at any 
rate they became flowers, because they had rested on the 
girl's head, and forehead, and heart. She was too good 
and innocent for sorcery to have power over her. 

When the wicked Queen saw that, she rubbed Eliza with 
walnut juice, so that the girl became dark brown, and 
smeared an evil-smelling ointment on her face, and let her 
beautiful hair hang in confusion. It was quite impossible 
to recognize the pretty Eliza. 

When her father saw her he was much shocked, and 
declared this was not his daughter. No one but the yard 
dog and the swallows would recognize her ; but they were 
poor animals who had nothing to say in the matter. 

Then poor Eliza wept, and thought of her eleven brothers 
who were all away. Sorrowfully she crept out of the 
castle, and walked all day over field and moor till she came 
into the great wood. She did not know whither she wished 
to go, only she felt very downcast and longed for her 
brothers : they had certainly been, like herself, thrust 
forth into the world, and she would seek for them and 
find them. 

She had been only a short time in the wood when the 
night fell ; she quite lost the path, therefore she lay down 
upon the soft moss, said her evening prayer, and leaned 
her head against the stump of a tree. Deep silence reigned 



around, the air was mild, and in the grass and in the moss 
gleamed like a green fire hundreds of glow-worms ; when 

she lightly touched one of the twigs with her hand, the 
shining insects fell down upon her like shooting stars. 

The whole night long she dreamed of her brothers. They 
were children again plajdng together, writing with their 


diamond pencils upon their golden slates, and looking at 
the beautiful picture-book which had cost half a kingdom. 
But on the slates they were not writing, as they had 
been accustomed to do, lines and letters, but the brave 
deeds they had done, and all they had seen and experienced ; 
and in the picture-book everything was alive — the birds 
sang, and the people went out of the book and spoke with 
Eliza and her brothers. But when the leaf was turned, 
they jumped back again directly, so that there should be 
no confusion. 

When she awoke, the sun was already standing high. 
She could certainly not see it, for the lofty trees spread 
their branches far and wide above her. But the rays 
played above them like a gauzy veil, there was a fragrance 
from the fresh verdure, and the birds almost perched upon 
her shoulders. She heard the plasliing of water ; it was 
from a number of springs all flowing into a lake which had 
the most delightful sandy bottom. It was surrounded by 
thick growing bushes, but at one part the stags had made 
a large opening, and here Eliza went down to the water. 
The lake was so clear, that if the wind had not stirred the 
branches and the bushes, so that they moved, one would 
have thought they were painted upon the depths of the 
lake, so clearly was every leaf mirrored, whether the sun 
shone upon it or whether it lay in shadow. 

When Eliza saw her own face she was terrified — so brown 
and ugly was she ; but when she wetted her little hand 
and rubbed her eyes and her forehead, the white skin 
gleamed forth again. Then she undressed and went down 
into the fresh water : a more beautiful King's daughter 
than she was could not be found in the world. And when 
she had dressed herself again and plaited her long hair, 
she went to the bubbling spring, drank out of her hollow 
hand, and then wandered farther into the wood, not 
knowing whither she went. She thought of her dear 
brothers, and thought that Heaven would certainly not 
forsake her. It is God who lets the wild apples grow, to 
satisfy the hungry. He showed her a wild apple tree, with 
the boughs bending under the weight of the fruit. Here 
she took her midday meal, placed props under the boughs, 
and then went into the darkest part of the forest. There 

AND. F. T. 51 


it was so still that she could hear her own footsteps, as 
well as the rustling of every dry leaf which bent under her 
feet. Not one bird was to be seen, not one ray of sunlight 
could find its way through the great dark boughs of the 
trees ; the lofty trunks stood so close together that when 
she looked before her it appeared as though she were 
surrounded by sets of palings one behind the other. Oh, 
here was a solitude such as she had never before known ! 

The night came on quite dark. Not a single .glow-worm 
now gleamed in the grass. Sorrowfully she lay down to 
sleep. Then it seemed to her as if the branches of the 
trees parted above her head, and mild eyes of angels looked 
down upon her from on high. 

When the morning came, she did not know if it had 
really been so or if she had dreamed it. 

She went a few steps forward, and then she met an old 
woman with berries in her basket, and the old woman gave 
her a few of them. Eliza asked the dame if she had not 
seen eleven Princes riding through the wood. 

' No,' replied the old woman, ' but yesterday I saw 
eleven swans swimming in the river close by, with golden 
crowns on their heads.' 

And she led Eliza a short distance farther, to a declivity, 
and at the foot of the slope a little river wound its way. 
The trees on its margin stretched their long leafy branches 
across towards each other, and where their natural growth 
would not allow them to come together, the roots had been 
torn out of the ground, and hung, intermingled with the 
branches, over the water. 

Eliza said farewell to the old woman, and went beside 
the river to the place where the stream flowed out to the 
great open ocean. 

The whole glorious sea lay before the young girl's eyes, 
but not one sail appeared on its surface, and not a boat- 
was to be seen. How was she to proceed 1 She looked at 
the innumerable little pebbles on the shore ; the water 
had worn them all round. Glass, ironstones, everything 
that was there had received its shape from the water, 
which was much softer than even her delicate hand. 

' It rolls on unweariedly, and thus what is hard becomes 
smooth. I will be just as unwearied. Thanks for your 


lesson, you clear rolling waves ; my heart tells me that 
one day you will lead me to my dear brothers.' 

On the foam-covered sea grass lay eleven white swan 
feathers, which she collected into a bunch. Drops of 
water were upon them — whether they were dew-drops or 
tears nobody could tell. Solitary it was there on the strand, 
but she did not feel it, for the sea showed continual changes 
— more in a few hours than the lovely lakes can produce in 
a whole year. Then a great black cloud came. It seemed 
as if the sea would say, ' I can look angry, too ; ' and then 
the wind blew, and the waves turned their white side 
outward. But when the clouds gleamed red and the winds 
slept, the sea looked like a rose leaf ; sometimes it became 
green, sometimes white. But however quietly it might 
rest, there was still a slight motion on the shore ; the 
water rose gently like the breast of a sleeping child. 

When the sun was just about to set, Eliza saw eleven 
wild swans, with crowns on their heads, flying towards the 
land : they swept along one after the other, so that they 
looked like a long white band. Then Eliza ascended the 
slope and hid herself behind a bush. The swans alighted 
near her and flapped their great white wings. 

As soon as the sun had disappeared beneath the water, 
the swans' feathers fell off, and eleven handsome Princes, 
Eliza's brothers, stood there. She uttered a loud cry, for 
although they were greatly altered, she knew and felt that 
it must be they. And she sprang into their arms and called 
them by their names ; and the Princes felt supremely 
happy when they saw their little sister again ; and they 
knew her, though she was now tall and beautiful. They 
smiled and wept ; and soon they understood how crue-1 
their stepmother had been to them all. 

' We brothers,' said the eldest, ' fly about as wild swans 
as long as the sun is in the sky, but directly it sinks down 
we receive our human form again. Therefore we must 
always take care that we have a resting-place for our feet 
when the sun sets ; for if at that moment we were flying 
up towards the clouds, we should sink down into the 
deep as men. We do not dwell here : there lies a land 
just as fair as this beyond the sea. But the way thither is 
long ; we must cross the great sea, and on our path there 


is no island where we could pass the night, only a little 
rock stands forth in the midst of the Avaves ; it is but just 
large enough that we can rest upon it close to each other. 
If the sea is rough, the foam spurts far over us, but we 
thank God for the rock. There we pass the night in our 
human form : but for this rock we could never visit our 
beloved native land, for we require two of the longest days 
in the year for our journey. Only once in each year is it 
granted to us to visit our home. For eleven days we may 
stay here and fly over the great wood, from whence we 
can see the palace in which we were born and in which 
our father lives, and the high church tower, beneath whose 
shade our mother lies buried. Here it seems to us as 
though the bushes and trees were our relatives ; here the 
wild horses career across the steppe, as we have seen them 
do in our childhood ; here the charcoal-burner sings the 
old songs to which we danced as children ; here is our 
fatherland : hither we feel ourselves drawn, and here we 
have found you, our dear little sister. Two days more we 
may stay here ; then we must away across the sea to 
a glorious land, but which is not our native land. How can 
we bear you away ? for we have neither ship nor boat.' 

' In what way can I release you ? ' asked the sister ; 
and they conversed nearly the whole night, only slumbering 
for a few hours. 

She was awakened by the rustling of the swans' wings 
above her head. Her brothers were again enchanted, and 
they flew in wide circles and at last far away ; but one of 
them, the youngest, remained behind, and the swan laid 
his head in her lap, and she stroked his wings ; and the 
whole day they remained together. Towards evening the 
others came back, and when the sun had gone down they 
stood there in their own shapes. 

' To-morrow we fly far aAvay from here, and cannot come 
back until a whole j^ear has gone by. But we cannot 
leave you thus ! Have you courage to come with us ? 
My arm is strong enough to carry you in the wood ; and 
should not all our wings be strong enough to fly with you 
over the sea ? ' 

' Yes, take me with you,' said Eliza. 

The whole night they were occupied in weaving a net 


of the pliable willow bark and tough reeds ; and it was 
great and strong. On this net Eliza lay down ; and when 
the sun rose, and her brothers were changed into wild 
swans, they seized the net with their beaks, and flew with 
their beloved sister, who was still asleep, high up towards 
the clouds. The sunbeams fell exactly upon her face, so 
one of the swans flew over her head, that his broad wings 
might overshadow her. 

The}'' were far away from the shore when Eliza awoke : 
she was still dreaming, so strange did it appear to her to 
be carried high through the air and over the sea. By 
her side lay a branch with beautiful ripe berries and 
a bundle of sweet-tasting roots. The youngest of the 
brothers had collected them and placed them there for her. 
She smiled at him thankfully, for she recognized him ; 
he it was who flew over her and shaded her with his wings. 

They were so high that the first ship they descried 
beneath them seemed like a white seagull lying upon the 
waters. A great cloud stood behind them — it was a perfect 
mountain ; and upon it Eliza saw her own shadow and 
those of the eleven swans ; there they flew on, gigantic 
in size. Here was a picture, a more splendid one than she 
had ever yet seen. But as the sun rose higher and the 
cloud was left farther behind them, the floating shadowy 
images vanished away. 

The whole day they flew onward through the air, like 
a whirring arrow, but their flight was slower than it was 
wont to be, for they had their sister to carry. Bad weather 
came on ; the evening drew near ; Eliza looked anxiously 
at the setting sun, for the lonely rock in the ocean could 
not be seen. It seemed to her as if the swans beat the air 
more strongly with their wings. Alas ! she was the cause 
that they did not advance fast enough. When the sun 
went down, they must become men and fall into the sea 
and drown. Then she prayed a prayer from the depths of 
her heart ; but still she could descry no rock. The dark 
clouds came nearer in a great black threatening body, 
rolling forward like a mass of lead, and the lightning burst 
forth, flash upon flash. 

Now the sun just touched the margin of the sea. Eliza's 
heart trembled. Then the swans darted downwards, so 


swiftly that she thought they were falling, but they paused 
again. The sun was half -hidden below the water. And 
now for the first time she saw the little rock beneath her, 
and it looked no larger than a seal might look, thrusting 
his head forth from the water. The sun sank very fast ; at 
last it appeared only like a star ; and then her foot touched 
the firm land. The sun was extinguished like the last spark 
in a piece of burned paper ; her brothers were standing 
around her, arm in arm, but there was not more than just 
enough room for her and for them. The sea beat against 
the rock and went over her like small rain ; the sky glowed 
in continual fire, and peal on peal the thunder rolled ; 
but sister and brothers held each other by the hand, 
and sang psalms, from which they gained comfort and 

In the morning twilight the air was pure and calm. As 
soon as the sun rose the swans flew away with Eliza from 
the island. The sea still ran high, and when they soared 
up aloft, the white foam looked like millions of white swans 
swimming upon the water. 

When the sun mounted higher, Eliza saw before her, 
half -floating in the air, a mountainous country with sliining 
masses of ice on its hills, and in the midst of it rose a castle, 
apparently a mile long, with row above row of elegant 
columns, while beneath waved the palm woods and bright 
flowers as large as mill-wheels. She asked if this was the 
country to which they were bound, but the swans shook 
their heads, for what she beheld was the gorgeous, ever- 
changing palace of Fata Morgana, and into this they 
might bring no human being. As Eliza gazed at it, moun- 
tains, woods, and castle fell down, and twenty proud 
churches, all nearly alike, with high towers and pointed 
windows, stood before them. She fancied she heard the 
organs sounding, but it was the sea she heard. When she 
was quite near the churches they changed to a fleet sailing 
beneath her, but when she looked down it was only a sea 
mist gliding over the ocean. Thus she had a continual 
change before her eyes, till at last she saw the real land to 
which they were bound. There arose the most glorious 
blue mountains, with cedar forests, cities, and palaces. 
Long before the sun went down she sat on the rock, in 


front of a great cave overgrown with delicate green trailing 
plants looking like embroidered carpets. 

' Now we shall see what you will dream of here to-night,' 
said the youngest brother ; and he showed her to her 

' Heaven grant that I may dream of a way to release 
you,' she replied. 

And this thought possessed her mightily, and she prayed 
ardently for help ; yes, even in her sleep she continued to 
pray. Then it seemed to her as if she were flying high in 
the air to the cloudy palace of Fata Morgana ; and the 
fairy came out to meet her, beautiful and radiant ; and 
yet the fairy was quite like the old woman who had given 
her the berries in the wood, and had told her of the sw^ans 
with golden crowns on their heads. 

' Your brothers can be released,' said she. ' But have 
you courage and perseverance ? Certainly, water is softer 
than your delicate hands, and yet it changes the shape of 
stones ; but it feels not the pain that your fingers will 
feel ; it has no heart, and does not suffer the agony and 
torment you will have to endure. Do you see the stinging- 
nettle which I hold in my hand ? Many of the same kind 
grow around the cave in which you sleep : those only, 
and those that grow upon churchyard graves, are serviceable, 
remember that. Those you must pluck, though they will 
burn your hands into blisters. Break these nettles to 
pieces with your feet, and you will have flax ; of this you 
must plait and weave eleven shirts of mail with long sleeves : 
throw these over the eleven swans, and the charm will be 
broken. But recollect well, from the momient you begin 
this work until it is finished, even though it should take 
years to accomplish, you must not speak. The first word 
you utter will pierce your brothers' hearts like a deadly 
dagger. Their lives hang on your tongue. Remember all 
this ! ' 

And she touched her hand with the nettle ; it was like 
a burning fire, and Eliza woke with the smart. It was 
broad daylight ; and close by the spot where she had slept 
lay a nettle like the one she had seen in her dream. She 
fell upon her knees and prayed gratefully, and went forth 
from the cave to begin her work. 


With her delicate hands she groped among the ugly 
nettles. These stung like fire, burning great blisters on 
her arms and hands ; but she thought she would bear it 
gladly if she could only release her dear brothers. Then 
she bruised every nettle with her bare feet and plaited 
the green flax. 

When the sun had set her brothers came, and they were 
frightened when they found her dumb. They thought it 
was some new sorcery of their wicked stepmother's ; but 
when they saw her hands, they understood what she was 
doing for their sake, and the youngest brother wept. And 
where his tears dropped she felt no more pain, and the 
burning blisters vanished. 

She passed the night at her work, for she could not 
sleep till she had delivered her dear brothers. The whole 
of the following day, while the swans were away, she sat 
in solitude, but never had time flown so quickly with 
her as now. One shirt of mail was already finished, and 
now she began the second. 

Then a hunting horn sounded among the hills, and she 
was struck with fear. The noise came nearer and nearer ; 
she heard the barking dogs, and timidly she fled into the 
cave, bound into a bundle the nettles she had collected and 
prepared, and sat upon the bundle. 

Immediatelya great dog came bounding out of the thicket, 
and then another, and another : they barked loudly, ran 
back, and then came again. Only a few minutes had gone 
before all the huntsmen stood before the cave, and the 
handsomest of them was the King of the country. He came 
forward to Eliza, for he had never seen a more beautiful 

' How did you come hither, you delightful child ? ' he 

Eliza shook her head, for she might not speak — it would 
cost her brothers their deliverance and their lives. And 
she hid her hands under her apron, so that the King might 
not see what she was suffering. 

' Come with me,' said he. ' You cannot stop here. If 
you are as good as you are beautiful, I will dress you 
in velvet and silk, and place the golden crown on your 
head, and you shall dwell in my richest castle, and rule.' 


And then he Hfted her on his horse. She wept and wrung 
her hands ; but the King said, 

' I only wish for your happiness : one day you will 
thank me for this.' 

And then he galloped away among the mountains with 
her on his horse, and the hunters galloped at their heels. 

When the sun went down, the fair regal city lay before 
them, with its churches and cupolas ; and the King led 
her into the castle, where great fountains plashed in the 
lofty marble halls, and where walls and ceilings were 
covered with glorious pictures. But she had no eyes for 
all this — she only wept and mourned. Passively she let 
the women put royal robes upon her, and weave pearls in 
her hair, and draw dainty gloves over her blistered fingers. 

When she stood there in full array, she was dazzlingly 
beautiful, so that the Court bowed deeper than ever. And 
the King chose her for his bride, although the archbishop 
shook his head and whispered that the beauteous forest 
maid was certainly a witch, who blinded the eyes and led 
astray the heart of the King. 

But the King gave no ear to this, but ordered that the 
music should sound, and the costliest dishes should be 
served, and the most beautiful maidens should dance 
before them. And she was led through fragrant gardens, 
into gorgeous halls ; but never a smile came upon her lips 
or shone in her eyes : there she stood, a picture of grief. 
Then the King opened a little chamber close by, where 
she was to sleep. This chamber was decked with splendid 
green tapestry, and completely resembled the cave in which 
she had been. On the floor lay the bundle of flax which she 
had prepared from the nettles, and under the ceiling hung 
the shirt of mail she had completed. All these things one 
of the huntsmen had brought with him as curiosities. 

' Here you may dream yourself back in your former 
home,' said the King. ' Here is the w^ork which occupied 
you there, and now, in the midst of all your splendour, it 
will amuse you to think of that time.' 

When Eliza saw this that lay so near her heart, a smile 
played round her mouth and the crimson blood came back 
into her cheeks. She thought of her brothers' deliverance, 
and kissed the King's hand ; and he pressed her to his. 

AND. F. T. F 3 


heart, and caused the marriage feast to be announced by 
all the church bells. The beautiful dumb girl out of the 
wood became the Queen of the country. 

Then the archbishop whispered evil words into the King's 
ear, but they did not sink into the King's heart. The 
marriage was to take place ; the archbishop himself was 
obliged to place the crown on her head, and with wicked 
spite he pressed the narrow circlet so tightly upon her brow 
that it pained her. But a heavier ring lay close around 
her heart — sorrow for her brothers ; she did not feel the 
bodily pain. Her mouth was dumb, for a single word 
Would cost her brothers their lives, but her eyes glowed 
with love for the kind, handsome King, who did everything 
to rejoice her. She loved him with her whole heart, more 
and more every day. Oh that she had been able to confide 
in him and to tell him of her grief ! But she was compelled 
to be dumb, and to finish her work in silence. Therefore 
at night she crept away from his side, and went quietly 
into the little chamber which was decorated like the cave, 
and wove one shirt of mail after another. But when she 
began the seventh she had no flax left. 

She knew that in the churchyard nettles were growing 
that she could use ; but she must pluck them herself, and 
how was she to go out there ? 

' Oh, what is the pain in my fingers to the torment my 
heart endures ? ' thought she. ' I must venture it, and 
help will not be denied me ! ' 

With a trembling heart, as though the deed she purposed 
doing had been evil, she crept into the garden in the 
moonlight night, and went through the long avenues and 
through the deserted streets to the churchyard. There, on 
one of the broadest tombstones, she saw sitting a circle of 
lamias. These hideous wretches took off their ragged 
garments, as if they were going to bathe ; then with their 
skinny fingers they clawed open the fresh graves, and with 
fiendish greed they snatched up the corpses and ate the 
flesh. Eliza was obliged to pass close by them, and they 
fastened their evil glances upon her ; but she prayed 
silently, and collected the burning nettles, and carried 
them into the castle. 

Only one person had seen her, and that was the arch- 


bishop. He was awake while others slept. Now he felt 
sure his opinion was correct, that all was not as it should 
be with the Queen ; she was a witch, and thus she had 
bewitched the King and the whole people. 

In secret he told the King what he had seen and what 
he feared ; and when the hard words came from his tongue, 
the pictures of saints in the cathedral shook their heads, 
as though they could have said, ' It is not so ! Eliza is 
innocent ! ' But the archbishop interpreted this differently 
— he thought they were bearing witness against her, and 
shaking their heads at her sinfulness. Then two heavy 
tears rolled down the King's cheeks ; he went home with 
doubt in his heart, and at night pretended to be asleep ; 
but no quiet sleep came upon his eyes, for he noticed that 
Eliza got up. Every night she did this, and each time he 
followed her silently, and saw how she disappeared from 
her chamber. 

From day to day his face became darker. Eliza saw it, 
but did not understand the reason ; but it frightened her — 
and what did she not suffer in her heart for her brothers ? 
Her hot tears flowed upon the royal velvet and purple ; 
they lay there like sparkling diamonds, and all who saw the 
splendour wished they were Queens. In the meantime she 
had almost finished her work. Only one shirt of mail was 
still to be completed, but she had no flax left, and not 
a single nettle. Once more, for the last time, therefore, 
she must go to the churchyard, only to pluck a few hand- 
fuls. She thought with terror of this solitary wandering 
and of the horrible lamias, but her will was firm as her trust 
in Providence. 

Eliza went on, but the King and the archbishop followed 
her. They saw her vanish into the churchyard through 
the wicket gate ; and when they drew near, the lamias 
were sitting upon the gravestones as Eliza had seen them ; 
and the King turned aside, for he fancied her among them, 
whose head had rested against his breast that very evening. 

' The people must judge her,' said he. 

And the people condemned her to suffer death by fire. 

Out of the gorgeous regal halls she was led into a dark 
damp cell, where the wind whistled through the grated 
window ; instead of velvet and silk they gave her the 


bundle of nettles which she had collected : on this she 
could lay her head ; and the hard burning coats of mail 
which she had woven were to be her coverlet. But nothing 
could have been given her that she liked better. She 
resumed her work and prayed. Without, the street boys 
were singing jeering songs about her, and not a soul com- 
forted her with a kind word. 

But towards evening there came the whirring of swans' 
wings close by the grating — it was the youngest of her 
brothers. He had found his sister, and she sobbed aloud 
with joy, though she knew that the approaching night 
would probably be the last she had to live. But now the 
work was almost finished, and her brothers were here. 

Now came the archbishop, to stay with her in her last 
hour, for he had promised the King to do so. But she shook 
her head, and with looks and gestures she begged him to 
depart, for in this night she must finish her work, or else 
all would be in vain, all her tears, her pain, and her sleepless 
nights. The archbishop withdrew uttering evil words 
against her ; but poor Eliza knew she was innocent, and 
continued her work. 

The little mice ran about on the floor, and dragged 
nettles to her feet in order to help her ; and the thrush 
perched beside the bars of the window and sang all night 
as merrily as it could, so that she might not lose heart. 

It was still twilight ; not till an hour afterwards would 
the sun rise. And the eleven brothers stood at the castle 
gate, and demanded to be brought before the King. That 
could not be, they were told, for it was still almost night ; 
the Eang was asleep, and might not be disturbed. They 
begged, they threatened, and the sentries came, yes, even 
the King himself came out, and asked what was the meaning 
of this. At that moment the sun rose, and no more were 
the brothers to be seen, but eleven wild swans flew away 
over the castle. 

All the people came flocking out at the town gate, for 
they wanted to see the witch burned. An old horse drew 
the cart on which she sat. They had put upon her a 
garment of coarse sackcloth. Her lovely hair hung loose 
about her beautiful head ; her cheeks were as pale as 
death ; and her lips moved silently, while her fingers were 


engaged with the green flax. Even on the way to death 
she did not interrupt the work she had begun ; the ten 
shirts of mail lay at her feet, and she wrought at the 
eleventh. The mob derided her. 

' Look at the witch, how she mutters ! She has no 
hymn-book in her hand ; no, there she sits with her ugly 
sorcery — tear it in a thousand pieces ! ' 

And they ail pressed upon her, and wanted to tear up 
the shirts of mail. Then eleven wild swans came flying up, 
and sat round about her on the cart, and beat with their 
wings ; and the mob gave way before them, terrified. 

' That is a sign from heaven ! She is certainly innocent ! ' 
whispered many. But they did not dare to say it aloud. 

Now the executioner seized her by the hand ; then she 
hastily threw the eleven shirts over the swans, and imme- 
diately eleven handsome Princes stood there. But the 
youngest had a swan's wing instead of an arm, for a sleeve 
was wanting to his shirt — she had not quite finished it. 

' Now I may speak ! ' she said. ' I am innocent ! ' 

And the people who saw what happened bowed before 
her as before a saint ; but she sank lifeless into her brothers' 
arms, such an effect had suspense, anguish, and pain had 
upon her. 

' Yes, she is innocent,' said the eldest brother. 

And now he told everything that had taken place ; and 
while he spoke a fragrance arose as of millions of roses, for 
every piece of faggot in the pile had taken root and was 
sending forth shoots ; and a fragrant hedge stood there, 
tall and great, covered with red roses, and at the top a flower, 
white and shining, gleaming like a star. This flower the 
King plucked and placed in Eliza's bosom ; and she awoke 
with peace and happiness in her heart. 

And all the church bells rang of themselves, and the 
birds came in great flocks. And back to the castle such 
a marriage procession took place as no King had ever seen. 



There was once a Bang's son; no one had so many 
beautiful books as he : everything that had happened in 
this world he could read there, and could see represented 
in lovely pictures. Of every people and of every land he 
could get intelHgence ; but there was not a word to tell 
where the Garden of Paradise could be found, and it was 
just that of which he thought most. 

His grandmother had told him, when he was quite little 
but was about to begin his schooling, that every flower in 
this Garden of Paradise was a delicate cake, and the pistils 
contained the choicest wine ; on one of the flowers history 
was written, and on another geography or tables, so that 
one had only to eat cake, and one knew a lesson ; and the 
more one ate, the more history, geography, or tables did 
one learn. 

At that time he believed this. But when he became 
a bigger boy, and learned more and became wiser, he 
understood well that the splendour in the Garden of 
Paradise must be of quite a different kind. 

' Oh, why did Eve pluck from the Tree of Knowledge ? 
Why did Adam eat the forbidden fruit ? If I had been 
he it would never have happened — then sin would never 
have come into the world.' 

That he said then, and he still said it when he was 
seventeen years old. The Garden of Paradise filled all his 

One day he walked in the wood. He was walking quite 
alone, for that was his greatest pleasure. The evening 
came, and the clouds gathered together ; rain streamed 
down as if the sky were one single sluice from which the 
water was pouring ; it was as dark as it usually is at night 
in the deepest well. Often he slipped on the smooth grass, 
often he fell over the smooth stones which stuck up out 
of the wet rocky ground. Everything was soaked with 
water, and there was not a dry thread on the poor Prince. 
He was obliged to climb over great blocks of stone, where 
the water oozed from the thick moss. He was nearly 


fainting. Then he heard a strange rushing, and saw before 
him a great illuminated cave. In the midst of it burned 
a fire, so large that a stag might have been roasted at it. 
And tliis was in fact being done. A glorious deer had been 
stuck, horns and all, upon a spit, and was turning slowly 
between two felled pine trunks. An elderly woman, large 
and strongly built, looking like a disguised man, sat by the 
fire, into which she threw one piece of wood after another. 

' Come nearer ! ' said she. ' Sit down by the fire and 
dry your clothes.' 

' There 's a great draught here ! ' said the Prince ; and 
he sat down on the ground. 

' That will be worse when my sons come home,' replied 
the woman. ' You are here in the Cavern of the Winds, 
and my sons are the four winds of the world : can you 
understand that ? ' 

' Where are your sons ? ' asked the Prince. 

* It 's difficult to answ^er when stupid questions are asked,' 
said the woman. ' My sons do business on their own 
account. They play at shuttlecock with the clouds up 
yonder in the great hall.' 

And she pointed upwards. 

' Oh, indeed ! ' said the Prince. ' But you speak rather 
gruffly, by the way, and are not so mild as the women 
I generally see about me.' 

' Yes, they have most likely nothing else to do ! I must 
be hard, if I vv^ant to keep my sons in order ; but I can 
do it, though they are obstinate fellows. Do you see the 
four sacks hanging there by the wall ? They are just as 
frightened of those as you used to be of the rod stuck 
behind the mirror. I can bend the lads together, I tell 
you, and then I pop them into the bag : we don't make 
any ceremony. There they sit, and may not wander about 
again until I think fit to allow them. But here comes one 
of them ! ' 

It was the North Wind, who rushed in with piercing 
cold ; great hailstones skipped about on the floor, and 
snowflakes fluttered about. He was dressed in a jacket 
and trousers of bear-skin ; a cap of seal-skin was drawn 
down over his ears ; long icicles hung on his beard, and one 
hailstone after another rolled from the collar of his jacket. 


' Do not go so near the jfire directly,' said the Prince, 
' you might get your hands and face frost-bitten.' 

' Frost-bitten ? ' repeated the North Wind, and he 
laughed aloud. ' Cold is exactly what rejoices me most ! 
But what kind of little tailor art thou ? How did you 
find your way into the Cavern of the Winds ? ' 

' He is my guest,' interposed the old woman, ' and if 
you're not satisfied with this explanation you may go into 
the sack : do you understand me ? ' 

You see, that was the right way ; and now the North 
Wind told whence he came and where he had been for 
almost a month. 

' I come from the Polar Sea,' said he ; 'I have been 
in the bear's icy land with the Russian walrus hunters. 
I sat and slept on the helm when they sailed out from the 
North Cape, and when I awoke now and then, the storm- 
bird flew round my legs. That 's a comical bird ! He gives 
a sharp clap with his wings, and then holds them quite 
still and shoots along in full career.' 

' Don't be too long-winded,' said the mother of the 
Winds. ' And so you came to the Bear's Island ? ' 

' It is very beautiful there ! There 's a floor for dancing 
on, as flat as a plate. Half -thawed snow, with a little moss, 
sharp stones, and skeletons of walruses and polar bears 
lay around, they looked like gigantic arms and legs of 
a rusty green colour. One would have thought the sun 
had never shone there. I blew a little upon the mist, so 
that one could see the hut : it was a house built of wreck- 
wood and covered with walrus -skins — the fleshy side turned 
outwards. It was full of green and red, and on the roof 
sat a live polar bear who was growling. I went to the 
shore to look after birds' nests, and saw the unfledged 
nestlings screaming and opening their beaks ; then I blew 
down into their thousand throats, and taught them to shut 
their mouths. Farther on the huge walruses were splashing 
like great maggots with pigs' heads and teeth an ell long ! ' 

' You tell your story well, my son,' said the old lady. 
' My mouth waters when I hear you ! ' 

' Then the hunting began ! The harpoon was hurled 
into the walrus's breast, so that a smoking stream of blood 
spurted like a fountain over the ice. When I thought of 


my sport, I blew, and let my sailing ships, the big icebergs, 
crush the boats between them. Oh, how the people 
whistled, and how they cried ! but I whistled louder than 
they. They were obliged to throw the dead walruses and 
their chests and tackle out upon the ice. I shook the 
snowflakes over them, and let them drive south in their 
crushed boats with their booty to taste salt water. They'll 
never come to Bear's Island again ! ' 

' Then you have done a wicked thing ! ' said the mother 
of the Winds. 

' What good I have done others may tell,' replied he. 
' But here comes a brother from the west. I like him best 
of all : he tastes of the sea and brings a delicious coolness 
with him.' 

' Is that little Zephyr ? ' asked the Prince. 

' Yes, certainly, that is Zephyr,' replied the old woman. 
' But. he is not little. Years ago he was a pretty boy, but 
that 's past now.' 

He looked like a wild man, but he had a broad-brimmed 
hat on, to save his face. In his hand he held a club of 
mahogany, hewn in the American mahogany forests. It 
was no trifle. 

' Where do you come from ? ' said his mother. 

' Out of the forest wilderness,' said he, ' #here the thorny 
creepers make a fence between every tree, where the water- 
snake lies in the wet grass, and people don't seem to be 

' What were you doing there ? ' 

' I looked into the deepest river, and watched how it 
rushed down from the rocks, and turned to spray, and shot 
up towards the clouds to carry the rainbow. I saw the 
wild buffalo swimming in the stream, but the stream 
carried him away. He drifted with the flock of wild ducks 
that flew up where the water fell down in a cataract. The 
buffalo had to go down it ! That pleased me, and I blew 
a storm, so that ancient trees were split up into splinters ! ' 

' And have you done nothing else ? ' asked the old dame. 

' I have thrown somersaults in the Savannahs : I have 
stroked the wild horses and shaken the coco -nut palms. 
Yes, yes, I have stories to tell ! But one must not tell 
all one knows. You know that, old lady.' 


And he kissed his mother so roughly that she almost 
tumbled over. He was a terribly wild young fellow ! 

Now came the South Wind, with a turban on and 
a flying Bedouin's cloak. 

' It 's terribly cold in here ! ' cried he, and threw some 
more wood on the fire. ' One can feel that the North 
Wind came fu"st.' 

' It 's so hot that one could roast a Polar bear here,' 
said the North Wind. 

' You're a Polar bear yourself/ retorted the South Wind. 

' Do you want to be put in the sack ? ' asked the old 
dame. ' Sit upon the stone yonder and tell me where you 
have been.' 

' In Africa, mother,' he answered. ' I was out hunting 
the lion with the Hottentots in the land of the Kaffirs. 
Grass grows there in the plains, green as an olive. There 
the ostrich ran races with me, but I am swifter than he. 
I came into the desert where the yellow sand lies : it looks 
there like the bottom of the sea. I met a caravan. The 
people were killing their last camel to get water to drink, 
but it was very little they got. The sun burned above and 
the sand below. The outs]3read deserts had no bounds. 
Then I rolled in the fine loose sand, and whirled it up in 
great pillars. That was a dance ! You should have seen 
how dejected the dromedary stood there, and the merchant 
drew the caftan over his head. He threw himself down 
before me, as before Allah, his God. Now they are buried — 
a pyramid of sand covers them all. When I some day 
blow that away, the sun will bleach the white bones ; 
then travellers may see that men have been there before 
them. Otherwise, one would not believe that, in the 
desert ! ' 

' So you have done nothing but evil ! ' exclaimed the 
mother. ' March into the sack ! ' 

And before he was aware, she had seized the South 
Wind round the body, and popped him into the bag. He 
rolled about on the floor ; but she sat down on the sack, 
and then he had to keep quiet. 

' Those are lively boys of yours,' said the Prince. 

' Yes,' she replied, ' and I know how to punish them ! 
Here comes the fourth ! ' 


That was the East Wind, who came dressed Hke a 

' Oh ! do jou come from that region ? said his mother. 
' I thought you had been in the Garden of Paradise.' 

' I don't fly there till to-morrow,' said the East Wind. 
' It will be a hundred years to-morrow since I was there. 
I come from China now, where I danced around the porcelain 
tower till all the bells jingled again ! In the streets the 
officials were being thrashed : the bamboos were broken 
upon their shoulders, yet they were high people, from the 
first to the ninth grade. They cried, " Many thanks, my 
paternal benefactor ! " but it didn't come from their 
hearts. And I rang the bells and sang, " Tsing, tsang, 
tsu ! " ' 

' You are foolish,' said the old dame. ' It is a good 
thing that you are going into the Garden of Paradise 
to-morrow : that always helps on your education. Drink 
bravely out of the spring of Wisdom, and bring home 
a little bottle -full for me.' 

' That I will do,' said the East Wind. ' But why have 
you clapped my brother South in the bag ? Out with him ! 
He shall tell me about the Phoenix bird, for about that 
bird the Princess in the Garden of Paradise always wants 
to hear, when I pay my visit every hundredth year. Open 
the sack, then you shall be my sweetest of mothers, and 
I will give you tv/o pocketfuls of tea, green and fresh 
as I plucked it at the place where it grew ! ' 

' Well, for the sake of the tea, and because you are my 
darling boy, I will open the sack.' 

She did so, and the South Wind crept out ; but he looked 
quite downcast, because the strange Prince had seen his 

' There you have a palm leaf for the Princess,' said the 
South Wind. ' This palm leaf was given me by the Phoenix 
bird, the only one now in the world. With his beak he 
has scratched upon it a description of all the hundred 
years he has lived. Now she may read it all herself. I saw 
how the Phoenix bird set fire to her nest, and sat upon it, 
and v/as burned to death like a Hindoo's widow. How the 
dry branches crackled ! What a smoke and a perfume 
there was ! At last everything burst into flame, and the 


old Phoenix turned to ashes, but her egg lay red-hot in 
the fire ; it burst with a great bang, and the young one 
flew out. Now this young one is ruler over all the birds, 
and the only Phoenix in the world. It has bitten a hole 
in the palm leaf I have given you : that is a greeting to 
the Princess.' 

' Let us have something to eat,' said the mother of the 

And now they all sat down to eat of the roasted deer. 
The Prince sat beside the East Wind, and they soon became 
good friends. 

' Just tell me,' said the Prince, ' what Princess is that 
about whom there is so much talk here ? and where does 
the Garden of Paradise lie ? ' 

'Ho, ho ! ' said the East Wind, ' do you want to go 
there ? Well, then, fly to-morrow with me ! But I must 
tell you, however, that no man has been there since the 
time of Adam and Eve. You have read cf them in your 
Bible history ? ' 

' Yes,' said the Prince. 

' When they were driven away, the Garden of Paradise 
sank into the earth ; but it kept its warm sunshine, its 
mild air, and all its splendour. The Queen of the Fairies 
Hves there, and there lies the Island of Happiness, where 
death never comes, and where it is beautiful. Sit upon 
my back to-morrow, and I will take you with me : I think 
it can very well be done. But now leave off talking, for 
I want to sleep.' 

And then they all went to rest. 

In the early morning the Prince awoke, and was not 
a little astonished to find himself high above the clouds. 
He was sitting on the back of the East Wind, who was 
faithfully holding him : they were so high in the air, that 
the woods and fields, rivers and lakes, looked as if they 
were painted on a map below them. 

' Good morning ! ' said the East Wind. ' You might 
very well sleep a little longer, for there is not much to be 
seen on the flat country under us, unless you care to count 
the churches. They stand like dots of chalk on the green 

What he called green carpet was field and meadow. 


' It was rude of me not to say good-bye to your mother 
and your brothers,' said the Prince. 

' When one is asleep one must be excused,' repHed the 
East Wind. 

And then they flew on faster than ever. One could hear 
it in the tops of the trees, for when they passed over them 
the leaves and twigs rustled ; one could hear it on the 
sea and on the lakes, for when they flew by the water 
rose higher, and the great ships bowed themselves towards 
the water like swimming swans. 

Towards evening, when it became dark, the great to\\Tis 
looked charming, for lights were burning below, here and 
there ; it was just as when one has lighted a piece of 
paper, and sees all the little sparks that vanish one after 
another. And the Prince clapped his hands ; but the 
East Wind begged him not to do so, and rather to hold 
fast, otherwise he might easily fall down and get caught 
on a church spire. 

The eagle in the dark woods flew easilj?-, but the East 
Wind flew more easily still. The Cossack on his little 
horse skimmed swiftly over the steppes, but the Prince 
sldmmed rrtore swiftly still. 

' Now you can see the Himalayas,' said the East Wind. 
' That is the highest mountain range in Asia. Now we 
shall soon get to the Garden of Paradise.' 

Then they turned more to the south, and soon the air 
was fragrant with flowers and spices ; figs and pomegranates 
grew wild, and the wild vine bore clusters of red and purple 
grapes. Here both ahghted and stretched themselves on 
the soft grass, where the flowers nodded to the wind, as 
though they would have said ' Welcome ! ' 

' Are we now in the Garden of Paradise ? ' asked the 

' Not at all,' reiDlied the East Wind. ' But we shall soon 
get there. Do you see the rocky wall yonder, and the great 
cave, where the vines cluster like a broad green curtain ? 
Through that we shall pass. Wrap yourself in your cloak. 
Here the sun scorches you, but a step farther it will be icy 
cold. The bird which hovers past the cave has one wing 
in the region of summer and the other in the wintry 


' So this is the way to the Garden of Paradise ? " observed 
the Prince. 

They went into the cave. Ugh ! but it was icy cold 
there, but this did not last long. The East Wind spread 
out his wings, and they gleamed like the brightest fire. 
What a cave was that ! Great blocks of stone, from which 
the water dripped down, hung over them in the strangest 
shapes ; sometimes it was so narrow that they had to 
creep on their hands and knees, sometimes as lofty and 
broad as in the open air. The place looked like a number 
of mortuary chapels, with dumb organ pipes, and petrified 

' We are going through the way of death to the Garden 
of Paradise, are we not ? ' inquired the Prince. 

The East Wind answered not a syllable, but he pointed 
forward to where a lovely blue light gleamed upon them. 
The stone blocks over their heads became more and more 
like a mist, and at last looked like a white cloud in the 
moonlight. Now they were in a deliciously mild air, fresh 
as on the hills, fragrant as among the roses of the valley. 
There ran a river, clear as the air itself, and the fishes 
were like silver and gold ; purple eels, flashing out blue 
sparks at every moment, played in the water below ; and 
the broad water-plant leaves shone in the colours of the 
rainbow ; the flower itself was an orange -coloured burning 
flame, to which the water gave nourishment, as the oil to 
the burning lamp ; a bridge of marble, strong, indeed, but 
so lightly built that it looked as if made of lace and glass 
beads, led them across the water to the Island of Happiness, 
where the Garden of Paradise bloomed. 

The East Wind took the Prince in his arms and carried 
him over there. There flowers and leaves sang the loveliest 
songs from his childhood, but with such swelhng music 
as no human voice can utter. 

Were they palm trees that grew here, or gigantic water- 
plants ? Such verdant mighty trees the Prince had never 
beheld ; the most wonderful climbing plants hung there 
in long festoons, as one only sees them illuminated in gold 
and colours on the margins of old missal-books or twined 
among the initial letters . Here were the strangest groupings 
of birds, flowers, and twining lines. Close by, in the grass, 


stood a flock of peacocks with their shining starry trains 

Yes, it was really so ! But when the Prince touched 
these, he found they were not birds, but plants ; they were 
great burdocks, which shone like the peacock's gorgeous 
train. The lion and the tiger sprang to and fro like agile 
cats among the green bushes, which were fragrant as the 
blossom of the olive tree ; and the lion and the tiger were 
tame. The wild wood pigeon shone like the most beautiful 
pearl, and beat her wings against the lion's mane ; and 

the antelope, usually so timid, stood by nodding its head, 
as if it wished to play too. 

Now came the Fairy of Paradise. Her garb shone like 
the sun, and her countenance was cheerful like that of 
a happy mother when she is well pleased with her child. 
She was young and beautiful, and was followed by a number 
of pretty maidens, each with a gleaming star in her hair. 
The East Wind gave her the written leaf from the Phoenix 
bird, and her eyes shone with pleasure. 

She took the Prince by the hand and led him into her 
palace, where the walls had the colour of a s^Dlendid tulip 
leaf when it is held up in the sunlight. The ceiling was 
a great sparkUng flower, and the more one looked up at 


it, the deeper did its cup appear. The Prince stepped 
to the window and looked through one of the panes. Here 
he saw the Tree of Knowledge, with the serpent, and Adam 
and Eve were standing close by. 

' Were they not driven out ? ' he asked. 

And the Fairy smiled, and explained to him that Time 
had burned in the picture upon that pane, but not as 
people are accustomed to see pictures. No, there was life 
in it : the leaves of the trees moved ; men came and went 
as in a dissolving view. And he looked through another 
pane, and there was Jacob's dream, with the ladder reaching 
up into heaven, and the angels with great wings were 
ascending and descending. Yes, everything that had 
happened in the world lived and moved in the glass panes ; 
such cunning pictures only Time could burn in. 

The Fairy smiled, and led him into a great lofty hall, 
whose walls appeared transparent. Here were portraits, 
and each face looked fairer than the last. There were to 
be seen millions of happy ones who smiled and sang, so 
that it flowed together into a melody ; the uppermost were 
so small that they looked like the smallest rosebud, when 
it is drawn as a point upon paper. And in the midst of 
the hall stood a great tree with rich pendent boughs ; 
golden apples, great and small, hung like oranges among 
the leaves. That was the Tree of Knowledge, of whose 
fruit Adam and Eve had eaten. From each leaf fell a 
shining red dew-drop ; it was as though the tree wept 
tears of blood. 

' Let us now get into the boat,' said the Fairy, ' then 
we will enjoy some refreshment on the heaving waters. 
The boat rocks, yet does not quit its station ; but all 
the lands of the earth will glide past in our sight.' 

And it was wonderful to behold how the whole coast 
moved. There came the lofty snow-covered Alps, with 
clouds and black pine trees ; the horn sounded with its 
melancholy note, and the shepherd trolled his merry song 
in the valley. Then the banana trees bent their long 
hanging branches over the boat ; coal-black swans swam 
on the water, and the strangest animals and flowers showed 
themselves upon the shore. That was New Holland, the 
fifth great division of the world, which glided past with a 


background of blue hills . They heard the song of the priests , 
and saw the savages dancing to the sound of drums and 
of bone trumpets. Egypt's pyramids, towering aloft to the 
clouds, overturned pillars and sphinxes, half buried in the 
sand, sailed past likewise. The Northern Lights shone over 
the glaciers of the north — it was a firework that no one 
could imitate. The Prince was quite happy, and he saw 
a hundred times more than we can relate here. 

' And can I always stay here ? ' asked he. 

' That depends upon yourself,' answered the Fairy. ' If 
5'Ou do not, hke Adam, yield to the temptation to do what 
is forbidden, you may always remain here.' 

' I shall not touch the apples on the Tree of Knowledge ! ' 
said the Prince. ' Here are thousands of fruits Just as 
beautiful as those.' 

' Search your own heart, and if you are not strong enough, 
go away with the East Wind that brought you hither. He 
is going to fly back, and will not show himself here again 
for a hundred years : the time will pass for you in this 
place as if it were a hundred hours, but it is a long time 
for the temptation of sin. Every evening, when I leave 
you, I shall have to call to you, " Come with me 1 " and 
I shall have to beckon to you with my hand ; but stay 
where you are : do not go with me, or your longing will 
become greater with every step. You will then come into 
the hall where the Tree of Knowledge grows ; I sleep under 
its fragrant pendent boughs ; you will bend over me, and 
I must smile ; but if you press a kiss upon my mouth, the 
Paradise will sink deep into the earth and be lost to you. 
The keen wind of the desert will rush around you, the cold 
rain drop from your hair, and sorrov/ and woe will be your 

' I shall stay here ! ' said the Prince. 

And the East Wind Idssed him on the forehead, and said, 

' Be strong, and we shall meet here again in a hundred 
years. Farewell ! farewell ! ' 

And the East Wind spread out his broad wings, and 
they flashed like sheet lightning in harvest-time, or like 
the Northern Lights in the cold winter. 

' Farewell ! farewell ! ' sounded from among the flowers 
and the trees. Storks and pelicans flew away in rows like 


fluttering ribbons, and bore him company to the boundary 
of the garden. 

' Now we will begin our dances ! ' cried the Fairy. ' At 
the end, when I dance with you, when the sun goes down, 
you will see me beckon to you ; you will hear me call to 
you, " Come with me ; " but do not obey. For a hundred 
years I must repeat this every evening ; every time, when 
the trial is past, you will gain more strength ; at last you 
will not think of it at all. This evening is the first time. 
Now I have warned you.' 

And the Fairy led him into a great hall of white trans- 
parent lilies ; the yellow stamens in each flower formed 
a little golden harp, which sounded both like a stringed 
instrument and a flute. The most beautiful maidens, float- 
ing and slender, clad in gauzy mist, glided by in the dance, 
and sang of the happiness of living, and declared that they 
would never die, and that the Garden of Paradise would 
bloom for ever. 

And the smi went down. The whole sky shone like 
gold, which gave to the lilies the hue of the most glorious 
roses ; and the Prince drank of the foaming wine which 
the maidens poured out for him, and felt a happiness he 
had never before known. He saw how the background of 
the hall opened, and the Tree of Knowledge stood in a glor}^ 
which blinded his eyes ; the singing there was soft and 
lovely as the voice of his dear mother, and it was as though 
she sang, ' My child ! my beloved child ! ' 

Then the Fairy beckoned to him, and called out per- 

' Come with me ! come with me ! * 

And he rushed towards her, forgetting his promise, 
forgetting it the very first evening ; and still she beckoned 
and smiled. The fragrance, the deUcious fragrance around 
became stronger, the harps sounded far more lovely, and 
it seemed as though the millions of smiling heads in the 
hall, where the tree grew, nodded and sang, ' One must 
know everything — man is the lord of the earth.' And 
they were no longer drops of blood that the Tree of Know- 
ledge wept ; they were red shining stars which he seemed 
to see. 

' Come ! come ! ' the quivering voice still cried, and at 


every step the Prince's cheeks burned more hotly and his 
blood flowed more rapidly. 

' I must ! ' said he. 'It is no sin, it cannot be one. Why 
not follow beauty and joy ? I only want to see her asleep ; 
there will be nothing lost if I only refrain from kissing her ; 
and I will not kiss her : I am strong and have a resolute 
will ! ' 

And the Fairy threw oS her shining cloak and bent back 
the branches, and in another moment she was hidden 
among them. 

' I have not yet sinned,' said the Prince, ' and I will 

And he pushed the boughs aside. There she slept already, 
beautiful as only a fairy in the Garden of Paradise can be. 
She smiled in her dreams, and he bent over her, and saw 
tears quivering beneath her eyelids ! 

' Do you weep for me ? ' he whispered. ' Weep not, 
thou glorious woman ! Now only I understand the bliss 
of Paradise ! It streams through my blood, through 
my thoughts ; the power of the angel and of increasing 
life I feel in my mortal body ! Let what will happen to 
me now ; one moment like this is wealth enough ! ' 

And he kissed the tears from her eyes — his mouth 
touched hers. 

Then there resounded a clap of thunder so loud and 
dreadful that no one had ever heard the like, and every- 
thing fell down ; and the beautiful Fairy and the charming 
Paradise sank down, deeper and deeper. The Prince saw 
it vanish into the black night ; like a little bright star it 
gleamed out of the far distance. A deadly chill ran through 
his frame, and he closed his eyes and lay for a long time as 
one dead. 

The cold rain fell upon his face, the keen wind roared 
round his head, and then his senses returned to him. 

' What have I done ? ' he sighed. ' I have sinned like 
Adam — sinned so that Paradise has sunk deep down ! ' 

And he opened his eyes, and the star in the distance — 
the star that gleamed like the Paradise that had sunk 
down, was the morning star in the sky. 

He stood up, and found himself in the great forest, close 
by the Cave of the Winds, and the mother of the Winds 


sat by his side : she looked angry, and raised her arm in 
the air. 

* The very first evening ! ' said she. * I thought it would 
be so ! Yes, if you were my son, you would have to go 
into the sack ! ' 

' Yes, he shall go in there ! ' said Death. He was 
a strong old man, with a scythe in his hand, and with 
great black wings. ' Yes, he shall be laid in his coffin, 
but not yet : I only register him, and let him wander 
awhile in the world to expiate his sins and to grow better. 
But one day I shall come. When he least expects it, 
I shall clap him in the black coffin, put him on my head, 
and fly up towards the star. There, too, blooms the Garden 
of Paradise ; and if he is good and pious he will go in 
there ; but if his thoughts are evil, and his heart still full 
of sin, he will sink with his coffin deeper than Paradise 
has sunk, and only every thousandth year I shall fetch 
him, that he may sink deeper, or that he may attain to 
the star — the shining star up yonder ! ' 


There was once a merchant, who was so rich that he 
could pave the whole street with silver coins, and almost 
have enough left for a little lane. But he did not do that ; 
he knew how to employ his money differently. When he 
spent a shilling he got back a crown, such a clever merchant 
was he ; and this continued till he died. 

His son now got all this money ; and he lived merrily, 
going to the masquerade every evening, making kites out 
of dollar notes, and playing at ducks and drakes on the 
sea coast with gold pieces instead of pebbles. In this way 
the money might soon be spent, and indeed it was so. At 
last he had no more than four shillings left, and no clothes 
to wear but a pair of slippers and an old dressing-gowTi. 
Now his friends did not trouble themselves any more about 
him, as they Could not walk with him in the street ; but 
one of them, who was good-natured, sent him an old trunk, 
with the remark, ' Pack up ! ' Yes, that was all very well. 



but he had nothing to pack, therefore he seated himself 
in the trunk. 

That was a wonderful trunk. So soon as any one pressed 
the lock, the trunk could fly. This it now did ; whirr ! away 
it flew wtth him through the chimney and over the clouds, 
farther and farther away. But as often as the bottom of 
the trunk cracked a little he was in great fear lest it might go 
to pieces, and then he would have thrown a fine somersault ! 

In that way he came to the land of the Turks. He hid the 
trunk in a wood under some dry leaves, and then went 
into the town. He could do that very well, for among 
the Turks all the people went dressed like himself in 
dressing-gown and slippers. Then he met a nurse with 
a little child. 

' Here, you Turkish nurse,' he began, 'what kind of 
a great castle is that close iDy the town, in which the 
windows are so high up ? ' 

* There dwells the Sultan's daughter,' replied she. ' It 


is prophesied that she will be very unhappy respecting 
a lover ; and therefore nobody may go to her, unless the 
Sultan and Sultana are there too.' 

' Thank you ! ' said the merchant's son ; and he went 
out into the forest, seated himself in his trunk, flew on 
ths roof, and crept through the window into the Princess's 

She was lying asleep on the sofa, and she was so beautiful 
that the merchant's son was compelled to kiss her. Then 
she awoke, and was very much startled ; but he said he 
was a Turkish angel who had come down to her through 
the air, and that pleased her. 

They sat down side by side, and he told her stories about 
her eyes ; he told her they were the most glorious dark 
lakes, and that thoughts were swimming about in them 
like mermaids. And he told her about her forehead ; 
that it was a snowy mountain with the most splendid 
halls and pictures. And he told her about the stork who 
brings the lovely little children. 

Yes, those were fine histories ! Then he asked the 
Princess if she would marry him, and she said ' Yes,' 

' But you must come here on Saturday,' said she. 
' Then the Sultan and the Sultana will be here to tea. 
They will be very proud that I am to marry a Turkish 
angel. But take care that you know a very pretty story, 
for both my parents are very fond indeed of stories. My 
mother likes them high-flown and moral, but my father 
likes them merry, so that one can laugh.' 

' Yes, I shall bring no marriage gift but a story,' said 
he ; and so they parted. But the Princess gave him 
a sabre, the sheath embroidered with gold pieces, and 
that was very useful to him. 

Now he flew away, bought a new dressing-gown, and sat 
in the forest and made up a story ; it was to be ready by 
Saturday, and that was not an easy thing. 

By the time he had finished it Saturday had come. The 
Sultan and his wife and all the court were at the Princess's 
to tea. He was received very graciously. 

* Will you tell us a story ? ' said the Sultana ; ' one that 
is deep and edifying.' 


' Yes, but one that we can laugh at,' said the Sultan. 

' Certainly,' he replied ; and began. And now listen well. 

' There was once a bundle of Matches, and these Matches 
were particularly proud of their high descent. Their 
genealogical tree, that is to say, the great fir tree of which 
each of them was a little splinter, had been a great old 
tree out in the forest. The Matches now lay between 
a Tinder-Box and an old iron Pot ; and they were telling 
about the days of their youth. " Yes, when we were upon 
the green boughs," they said, " then we really were upon 
the green boughs ! Every morning and evening there was 
diamond tea for us, I mean dew ; we had sunshine all day 
long whenever the sun shone, and all the little birds had 
to tell stories. We could see very well that we were rich, 
for the other trees were only dressed out in summer, while 
our family had the means to wear green dresses in the 
winter as well. But then the woodcutter came, like a great 
revolution, and our family was broken up. The head of 
the family got an appointment as mainmast in a fu-st-rate 
ship, which could sail round the world if necessary ; the 
other branches went to other places, and now we have the 
office of Idndling a light for the vulgar herd. That 's how 
we grand people came to be in the kitchen." 

' " My fate was of a different kind," said the iron Pot 
which stood next to the Matches. " Erom the beginning, 
ever since I came into the world, there has been a great 
deal of scouring and cooking done in me. I look after 
the practical part, and am the first here in the house. My 
only pleasure is to sit in my place after dinner, very clean 
and neat, and to carry on a sensible conversation with my 
comrades. But except the Water Pot, which sometimes is 
taken down into the courtyard, we always live within ovir 
four walls. Our only newsmonger is the Market Basket ; 
but he speaks very uneasily about the government and the 
people. Yes, the other day there was an old pot that fell 
down from fright, and burst. He 's liberal, I can tell you ! " 
"Now you're talking too much," the Tinder-Box interrupted, 
and the steel struck against the fhnt, so that sparks flew 
out. " Shall we not have a merry evening ? " 

' " Yes, let us talk about who is the grandest," said the 


' "No, I don't like to talk about myself," retorted the 
Pot. " Let us get up an evening entertainment. I will 
begin. I will tell a story from real life, something that 
every one has experienced, so that we can easily imagine 
the situation, and take pleasure in it. On the Baltic, by 
the Danish beech-trees " 

' " That 's a pretty beginning ! " cried all the Plates. 
" That will be a story we shall like." 

' " Yes, there I spent my youth in a quiet family where 
the furniture was polished, and the floors scoured, and new 
curtains were put up every fortnight." 

' " What an interesting way you have of telling a story ! " 
said the Carpet Broom. *' One can tell directly that the 
narrator is a woman. There 's something pure runs through 

' " Yes, one feels that," said the Water Pot, and out of 
dehght it gave a Httle hop, so that there was a splash on 
the floor. 

' And the Pot went on telling her story, and the end was 
as good as the beginning, 

' All the Plates rattled with joy, and the Carpet Broom 
brought some green parsley out of the dust hole, and put 
it hke a wreath on the Pot, for he knevv^ that it would vex 
the others, " If I crown her to-day," it thought, " she 
will crown me to-morrow," 

' " Now I'll dance," sai the Eire Tongs, and she 
danced. Preserve us ! how that implement could lift up 
one leg ! The old Chair Cushion burst to see it. " Shall 
I be crowned too ? " thought the Tongs ; and indeed 
a wreath was awarded. 

* " They're only common people, after all ! " thought 
the Matches, 

Now the Tea Urn was to sing ; but she said she had 
taken cold, and could not sing unless she felt boiling witliin. 
But that was only affectation ; she did not want to sing, 
except when she was in the parlour with the grand people. 

' In the window sat an old Quill Pen, with which the 
maid generally wrote : there was notliing remarkable about 
this pen, except that it had been dipped too deep into the 
ink, but she was proud of that. " If the Tea Urn won't 
sing," she said, " she may leave it alone. Outside hangs 


a nightingale in a cage, and he can sing. He hasn't had 
any education, but this evening we'll say nothing about 

' " I think it very wrong," said the Tea Kettle — he was 
the kitchen singer, and half-brother to the Tea Urn — 
" that that rich and foreign bird should be listened to ! 
Is that patriotic ? Let the Market Basket decide." 

' " I am vexed," said the Market Basket. " No one can 
imagine how much I am secretly vexed. Is that a proper 
way of spending the evening ? Would it not be more 
sensible to put the house in order ? Let each one go to 
his own place, and I would arrange the whole game. That 
would be quite another thing." 

' " Yes, let us make a disturbance," cried they all. Then 
the door opened, and the maid came in, and they all stood 
still ; not one stirred. But there was not one pot among 
them who did not know what he could do, and how grand 
he was. " Yes, if I had hked," each one thought, " it 
might have been a very merry evening." 

' The servant girl took the Matches and lighted the fire 
with them. Mercy I how they sputtered and burst out 
into flame 1 " Now every one can see," thought they, 
" that we are the first. How we shine ! what a light ! " — 
and they burned out.' 

' That was a capital story,' said the Sultana. ' I feel 
myself quite carried away to the kitchen, to the Matches. 
Yes, now thou shalt marry our daughter.' 

' Yes, certainly,' said the Sultan, ' thou shalt marry our 
daughter on Monday.' 

And they called him thou, because he was to belong to 
the family. 

The wedding was decided on, and on the evening before 
it the whole city was illuminated. Biscuits and cakes were 
thrown among the people, the street boys stood on their 
toes, called out ' Hurrah ! ' and whistled on their fingers. 
It was uncommonly splendid. 

' Yes, I shall have to give something as a treat,' thought 
the merchant's son. So he bought rockets and crackers, 
and every imaginable sort of firework, put them all into 
his trunk, and flew up into the air. 

' Crack ! ' how they went, and how they went off ! All 


the Turks hopped up with such a start that their shppers 
flew about their ears ; such a meteor they had never yet 
seen. Now they could understand that it must be a 
Turkish angel who was going to marry the Princess. 

As soon as the merchant's son descended again into the 
forest with his trunk, he thought, * I will go into the town 
now, and hear how it all looked.' And it was quite natural 
that he wanted to do so 

What stories people told ! Every one whom he asked 
about it had seen it in a separate way ; but one and all 
thought it fine. 

* I saw the Turkish angel himself,' said one. * He had 
eyes like glowing stars, and a beard like foaming water.' 

* He flew in a fiery mantle,' said another ; ' the most 
lovely little cherub peeped forth from among the folds.' 

Yes, they were wonderful things that he heard ; and on 
the following day he was to be married. 

Now he went back to the forest to rest himself in his 
trunk. But what had become of that ? A spark from the 
fireworks had set fire to it, and the trunk was burned to 
ashes. He could not fly any more, and could not get to 
his bride. 

She stood all day on the roof waiting ; and most likely 
she is waiting still. But he wanders through the world 
telling fairy tales ; but they are not so merry as that one 
he told about the Matches. 


On the last house in a little village stood a Stork's nest. 
The Mother-Stork sat in it with her four young ones, who 
stretched out their heads with the pointed black beaks, 
for their beaks had not yet turned red. A little way off 
stood the Father-Stork, all alone on the ridge of the roof, 
quite upright and stiff ; he had drawn up one of his legs, 
so as not to be quite idle while he stood sentry. One 
would have thought he had been carved out of wood, so 
still did he stand. He thought, ' It must look very grand, 
that my wife has a sentry standing by her nest. They 


can't tell that it is her husband. They certainly think 
I have been commanded to stand here. That looks so 
aristocratic ! ' And he went on standing on one leg. 

Below in the street a whole crowd of children were 

pla3dng ; and when they caught sight of the Storks, one 
of the boldest of the boys, and afterwards all of them, sang 
the old verse about the Storks. But they only sang it 
just as he could remember it : 


Stork, stork, fly away ; 

Go and stay at home to-day. 
Your wife is lying in the nest, 

With four young beneath her breast. 

The first he will be hanged. 

The second \\'ill be banged. 
The third he will be burned, 

And the fourth one will be turned 
Outside in ! 

' Just hear what those boys are singing ! ' said the Httle 
Stork-children. ' They say we're to be hanged and burned.' 

' You're not to care for that ! ' said the Mother-Stork. 
' Don't Hsten to it, and then it won't matter.' 

But the boys went on singing, and pointed at the Storks 
mockingly with their fingers ; only one boy, whose name 
was Peter, declared that it was a sin to make jest of animals, 
and he would not join in it at all. 

The Mother-Stork comforted her children. Don't you 
mind it at all,' she said ; ' see how quiet your father stands, 
though it 's only on one leg.' 

' We are very much afraid,' said the young Storks : 
and they drew their heads far back into the nest. 

Now to-day, when the children came out again to play, 
and saw the Storks, they sang their song : 

The first he will be hanged, 
The second will be banged 

* Shall we be hanged and burned ? ' asked the young 

' No, certainly not,' replied the mother. ' You shall 
learn to fly ; I'll exercise you ; then we shall fly out into 
the meadows and pay a visit to the frogs ; they will bow 
before us in the water, and sing " Co-ax ! co-ax 1 " and 
then we shall eat them up. That will be a real pleasure.' 

' And what then ? ' asked the young Storks. 

* Then all the Storks will assemble, all that are here in 
the whole country, and the autumn exercises begin : then 
one must fly well, for that is highly important, for whoever 
cannot fly properly will be thrust dead by the general's 
beak ; so take care and learn well when the exercising 


' But then we shall be killed, as the boys say : — and only 
listen, now they're singing again.' 

' Listen to me, and not to them,' said the Mother-Stork. 
' After the great review . we shall fly away to the warm 
countries, far away from here, over mountains and forests. 
We shall fly to Egypt, where there are three-cornered 
houses of stone, which run up to a point and tower above 
the clouds ; they are called pyramids, and are older than 
a stork can imagine. There is a river in that country which 
runs out of its bed, and then all the land is turned to mud. 
One walks about in the mud, and eats frogs.' 

' Oh ! ' cried all the young ones. 

' Yes ! It is glorious there ! One does nothing all day 
long but eat ; and while we are so comfortable over there, 
here there is not a green leaf on the trees ; here it is so 
cold that the clouds freeze to pieces, and fall down in little 
white rags ! ' 

It was the snow that she meant, but she could not explain 
it in any other way. 

' And do the naughty boys freeze to pieces ? ' asked the 
young Storks. 

' No, they^do not freeze to pieces ; but they are not far 
from it, and must sit in the dark room and cower. You, 
on the other hand, can fly about in foreign lands, where 
there are flowers, and the sun shines warm.' 

Now some time had elapsed, and the nestlings had grown 
so large that they could stand upright in the nest and look 
far around ; and the Father-Stork came every day with 
delicious frogs, little snakes, and all kinds of stork-dainties 
as he found them. Oh ! it looked funny when he performed 
feats before them ! He laid his head quite back upon his tail, 
and clapped with his beak as if it had been a little clapper ; 
and then he told them stories, all about the marshes. 

' Listen ! now you must learn to fly,' said the Mother- 
Stork one day ; and all the four young ones had to go out 
on the ridge of the roof. Oh, how they tottered ! how 
they balanced themselves with their wings, and yet they 
were nearly falling down, 

' Only look at me,' said the mother. * Thus you must 
hold your heads ! Thus you must pitch your feet ! One, two ! 
one, two ! That 's what will help you on in the world.' 


Then she flew a little way, and the young ones made 
a little clumsy leap. Bump ! — there they lay, for their 
bodies were too heavy. 

' I will not fly ! ' said one of the young Storks, and crept 
back into the nest ; ' I don't care about getting to the 
warm countries.' 

' Do you want to freeze to death here, when the winter 
comes ? Are the boys to come and hang you, and singe 
you, and roast you ? Now I'll call them.' 

' Oh, no ! ' cried the young Stork, and hopped out on to 
the roof again like the rest. 

On the third day they could actually fly a little, and 
then they thought they could also soar and hover in the 
air. They tried it, but — bump ! — down they tumbled, and 
they had to flap their wings again quickly enough. Now 
the boys came into the street again, and sang their song : 

Stork, stork, fly away ! 

' Shall we fly down and pick their eyes out ? ' asked the 
young Storks. 

' No,' replied the mother, ' let them alone. Only listen 
to me, that 's far more important. One, two, three ! — now 


we fly round to the right. One, two, three ! — ^now to the 
left round the chimney 1 See, that was very good ! the 
last flap with the wings was so neat and correct that you 
shall have permission to-morrow to fly with me to the 
marsh ! Several nice stork families go there with their 
young : show them that mine are the nicest, and that you 
can stalk proudly ; that looks well, and will get you 

' But are we not to take revenge on the rude boys ? ' 
asked the young Storks. 

' Let them scream as much as they like. You will fly 
up to the clouds, and get to the land of the pyramids, 
when they will have to shiver, and not have a green leaf 
or a sweet apple.' 

' Yes, we will revenge ourselves I ' they whispered to 
one another ; and then the exercising went on. 

Among all the boys down in the street, the one most 
bent upon singing the teasing song was he who had begun 
it, and he was quite a little boy. He could hardly be more 
than six years old. The young Storks .certainly thought 
he was a hundred, for he was much bigger than their mother 
and father ; and how should they know what age children 
and grown-up people may be ? Their revenge was to come 
upon this boy, for it was he who had begun, and he always 
kept on. The young Storks were very angry ; and as 
they grew bigger they were less inclined to bear it : at last 
their mother had to promise them that they should be 
revenged, but not till the last day of their stay. 

' We must first see how you behave at the grand review. 
It you get through badly, so that the general stabs you 
through the chest with his beak, the boys will be right, at 
least in one way. Let us see.' 

' Yes, you shall see ! ' cried the young Storks ; and 
then they took all imaginable pains. They practised 
every day, and flew so neatly and so lightly that it was 
a pleasure to see them. 

Now the autumn came on ; all the Storks began to 
assemble, to fly away to the warm countries while it is 
winter here. That was a review. They had to fly over 
forests and villages, to show how well they could soar, for 
it was a long journey they had before them. The young 



Storks did their part so well that they got as a mark, 
' Remarkably well, with frogs and snakes.' That was the 
highest mark ; and they might eat the frogs and snakes ; 
and that is what they did. 

' Now we will be revenged ! ' they said. 

' Yes, certainly ! ' said the Mother-Stork. ' What I 
have thought of \\dll be the best. I know the pond in which 
ail the little mortals lie till the stork comes and brings 
them to their parents. The pretty little babies lie there 
and dream more sweetly than they ever dream afterwards. 
All parents are glad to have such a child, and all children 
want to have a sister or a brother. Now we will fly to the 
pond, and bring one for each of the children who have not 
sung the naughty song and laughed at the storks.' 

' But he who began to sing — that naughty, ugly boy ! ' 
screamed the young Storks ; ' what shall we do with him ? ' 

' There is a little dead child in the pond, one that has 
dreamed itself to death ; we will bring that for him. Then 
he will cry because we have brought him a little dead 
brother. But that good boy — you have not forgotten him, 
the one who said, " It is wrong to laugh at animals ! " for 
him we will bring a brother and a sister too. And as his 
name is Peter, all of you shall be called Peter too.' 

And it was done as she said ; all the storks were named 
Peter, and so they are all called even now. 



In the city of Florence, not far from the Piazza del 
Granduca, there runs a Uttle cross -street, I think it is 
called Porta Bossa. In this street, in front of a kind of 
market hall where vegetables are sold, there lies a Pig 
artistically fashioned of metal. The fresh clear water 
pours from the snout of the creature, which has become 
a blackish-green from age ; only the snout shines as if it 
had been polished, and indeed it has been, by many 
hundreds of children and poor people, who seize it with 
their hands, and place their mouths close to the mouth of 
the animal, to drink. It is a perfect picture to see the 
well-shaped creature clasped by a half-naked boy, who 
lays his red lips against its snout. 

Every one who comes to Florence can easily find the 
place ; he need only ask the first beggar he meets for the 
Metal Pig, and he will find it. 

It was late on a winter evening. The mountains were 
covered with snow ; but the moon shone, and moonlight 
in Italy is just as good as the light of a murky Northern 
winter's day ; nay, it is better, for the air shines and hfts 
us up, while in the North the cold grey leaden covering 
seems to press us downwards to the earth — the cold damp 
earth, which will some day press down our coffin. 

In the Grand Duke's palace garden, under a roof of 
pines, where a thousand roses bloom in winter, a little 
ragged boy had been sitting all day long, a boy who might 
serve as a type of Italy, pretty and smiling, and yet suffer- 
ing. He was hungry and thirsty, but no one gave him 
anything ; and when it became dark, and the garden was 
to be closed, the porter turned him out. Long he stood 
musing on the bridge that spans the Amo, and looked at 
the stars, whose light glittered in the water between him 
and the splendid marble bridge. 

He took the way towards the Metal Pig, half knelt 
down, clasped his arms round it, put his mouth against 

AND. F, T. G 3 


its shining snout, and drank the fresh water in deep 
draughts. Close by lay a few leaves of salad and one or 
two chestnuts ; these were his supper. No one was in the 
street but himself — it belonged to him alone, and so he 
boldly sat down on the Pig's back, bent forward, so that 
his curly head rested on the head of the animal, and before 
he was aware fell asleep. 

It was midnight. The Metal Pig stirred, and he heard 
it say quite distinctly, ' You little boy, hold tight, for now 
I am going to run,' and away it ran with him. This was 
a wonderful ride. First they got to the Piazza del Granduca, 

and the metal horse which carries the Duke's statue 
neighed loudly, the painted coats of arms on the old 
council-house looked like transparent pictures, and Michael 
Angelo's ' David ' swung his sling : there was a strange 
life stirring among them. The metal groups representing 
Perseus, and the rape of the Sabines, stood there only too 
much alive : a cry of mortal fear escaped them, and 
resounded over the splendid lonely square. 

By the Palazzo degli Uffizi, in the arcade, where the 
nobility assemble for the Carnival amusements, the Metal 
Pig stopped. ' Hold tight,' said the creature, ' for now we 
are going upstairs.' The little boy spoke not a word, for 
he was half frightened half delighted. 


They came into a long gallery where the boy had already 
been. The walls were adorned with pictures ; here stood 
statues and busts, all in the most charming hght, as if 
it had been broad day ; but the most beautiful of all was 
when the door of a side room opened : the little boy could 
remember the splendour that was there, but on this night 
everything shone in the most glorious colours. 

Here stood a beautiful woman, as radiant in beauty as 
nature and the greatest master of sculpture could make 
her : she moved her graceful limbs, dolphins sprang at her 
feet, and immortality shone out of her eyes. The world 
calls her the Venus de Medici. By her side are statues in 
which the spirit of life had been breathed into the stone ; 
they are handsome unclothed men. One was sharpening 
a sword, and was called the Grinder ; the Wresthng 
Gladiators formed another group ; and the sword was 
sharpened, and they strove for the goddess of beauty. 

The boy was dazzled by all this pomp : the walls gleamed 
with bright colours, and everjrthing was life and movement 
there. In twofold form was seen the image of Venus, the 
earthly Venus, full and glowing, as Titian had seen her. 
The pictures of two lovely women ; their beautiful unveiled 
limbs were stretched out on the soft cushions ; their bosoms 
heaved, and their heads moved, so that the rich locks fell 
down over the rounded shoulders, while their dark eyes 
uttered glowing thoughts. But not one of all the pictures 
dared to step quite out of its frame. The Goddess of 
Beauty herself, the Gladiators and the Grinder, remained 
in their places, for the glory that shone from the Madonna, 
Jesus, and St. John, restrained them. The holy pictures 
were pictures no longer, they were the Holy Ones them- 

What splendour, what beauty shone from hall to hall ! 
and the little boy saw everything plainly, for the Metal 
Pig went step by step through all this scene of magnificence. 
Each fresh sight effaced the last. One picture only fixed 
itself firmly in his soul, especially through the very happy 
children introduced into it ; the little boy had once nodded 
to these in the daylight. 

Many persons pass by this picture with indifference, and 
yet it contains a treasure of poetry. It represents the 


Saviour descending into hell. But these are not the 
damned whom the spectator sees around him, they are 
the heathens. The Florentine Angiolo Bronzino painted this 
picture. Most beautiful is the expression on the faces of 
the children, — the full confidence that they will get to 
heaven : two little beings are already embracing, and one 
little one stretches out his hand towards another who stands 
below him, and points to himself as if he were sajing, ' I am 
going to heaven ! ' The older people stand uncertain, 
hoping, or bowing in humble adoration before the Lord 
Jesus. The boy's eyes rested longer on this picture than 
on any other. The Metal Pig stood still before it. A low 
sigh was heard : did it come from the picture or from the 
animal ? The boy lifted up his hands towards the smiling 
children ; then the Pig ran away with him, away through 
the open vestibule. 

' Thanks and blessings to you, you dear thing I ' said 
the little boy, and caressed the Metal Pig, as it sprang 
down the steps with him. 

' Thanks and blessings to yourself,' replied the Metal 
Pig. ' I have helped you, and you have helped me, for only 
with an innocent child on my back do I receive power to 
run ! Yes, you see, I may even step into the rays of the 
lamp in front of the picture of the Madonna, I can carry 
you everywhere, only I may not go into the church. But 
from without, when you are with me, I may look in through 
the open door. Do not get down from my back ; if you 
do so, I shall lie dead as you see me in the daytime at 
the Porta Rossa.' 

' I will stay with you, my dear creature ! ' cried the child. 

So they went in hot haste through the streets of Florence, 
out into the place before the church of Santa Croce. The 
folding doors flew open, and lights gleamed out from the 
altar through the church into the deserted square. 

A wonderful blaze of light streamed forth from a monu- 
ment in the left aisle, and a thousand moving stars seemed 
to form a glory round it. A coat of arms shone upon the 
grave, a red ladder in a blue field seemed to glow like fire. 
It was the grave of Galileo. The monument is unadorned, 
but the red ladder is a significant emblem, as if it were that 
of art, for in art the way always leads up a burning ladder, 


towards heaven. The prophets of mind soar upwards 
towards heaven, Hke EHas of old. 

To the right, in the aisle of the church, every statue on 
the richly carved sarcophagi seemed endowed with life. 
Here stood Michael Angelo, there Dante with the laurel 
wreath round his brow, Alfieri and Machiavelli ; for here 
the great men, the pride of Italy, rest side by side. It is 
a glorious church, far more beautiful than the marble 
cathedral of Florence, though not so large. 

It seemed as if the marble vestments stirred, as if the 
great forms raised their heads higher and looked up, amid 
song and music, to the bright altar glowing with colour, 
where the white -clad boys swing the golden censers ; and 
the strong fragrance streamed out of the church into the 
open square. 

The boy stretched forth his hand towards the gleaming 
light, and in a moment the Metal Pig resumed its headlong 
career : he was obliged to cling tightly ; and the wind 
whistled about his ears ; he heard the church door creak 
on its hinges as it closed ; but at the same moment his 
senses seemed to desert him, he felt a cold shudder pass 
over him, and awoke. 

It was morning, and he was still sitting on the Metal 
Pig, which stood where it always stood on the Porta Rossa, 
and he had slipped half off its back. 

Fear and trembling filled the soul of the boy at the 
thought of her whom he called mother, and who had 
yesterday sent him forth to bring money ; for he had none, 
and was hungry and thirsty. Once more he clasped his 
arms round the neck of his metal horse, kissed its lips, and 
nodded farewell to it. Then he wandered away into one 
of the narrowest streets, where there was scarcely room 
for a laden ass. A great iron -clamped door stood ajar ; 
he passed through it, and climbed up a brick stair with 
dirty walls and a rope for a balustrade, till he came to 
an open gallery hung with rags ; from here a flight of 
stairs led down into the court, where there was a fountain, 
and great iron wires led up to the different stories, and 
many water-buckets hung side by side, and at times the 
roller creaked, and one of the buckets would dance into 
the air, swaying so that the water splashed out of it down 


into the courtyard. A second ruinous brick staircase here 
led upwards. Two Russian sailors were running briskly 
down, and almost overturned the poor boy : they were 
going home from their nightly carouse. A strongly -built 
woman, no longer young, with coarse black hair, followed 

' What do you bring home ? ' she asked the boy. 

' Don't be angry,' he pleaded. ' I received nothing — 
nothing at all.' And he seized the mother's dress, and 
would have kissed it. 

They went into the little room. I will not describe it, 
but only say that there stood in it an earthen pot with 
handles, made for holding fire, and called a marito. This 
pot she took in her arms, warmed her fingers, and pushed 
the boy with her elbow. 

' Certainly you must have brought some money ? ' said 

The boy wept, and she struck him with her foot, so that 
he cried aloud. 

* Will you be silent, or I'll break your screaming head ! ' 

And she brandished the fire -pot which she held in her 
hand. The boy crouched down to the earth with a scream 
of terror. Then a neighbour stepped in, also with a 
marito in her arms. 

' Eelicita,' she said, * what are you doing to the child ? ' 

' The child is mine,' retorted Felicita. ' I can murder 
him if I like, and you too, Giannina.' 

And she swung her fire -pot. The other lifted up hers in 
self-defence, and the two pots clashed together with such 
fury that fragments, fire, and ashes flew about the room ; 
but at the same moment the boy rushed out at the door, 
sped across the courtyard, and fled from the house. The 
poor child ran till he was quite out of breath. He stopped 
by the church, whose great doors had opened to him the 
previous night, and went in. Everything was radiant. 
The boy knelt down at the first grave on the right hand, 
the grave of Michael Angelo, and soon he sobbed aloud. 
People came and went, and Mass was said ; but no 
one noticed the boy, only an elderly citizen stood still, 
looked at him, and then went away like the rest. 

Hunger and thirst tormented the child ; he was quite 



faint and ill, and he crept into a comer between the wall 
and the marble monument, and went to sleep. Towards 
evening he was awakened by a tug at his sleeve ; he started 
up, and the same citizen stood before him. 

' Are you ill ? Where do you live ? Have you been 
here all day ? ' were three of the many questions the old 
man asked of him. 

He answered, and the old man took him into his little 
house close by, in a back street. They came into a glover's 

workshop, where a woman sat sewing busily. A little white 
Spitz dog, so closely shaven that his pink skin could be 
seen, frisked about on the table and gambolled before 
the boy. 

* Innocent souls soon make acquaintance,' said the woman. 

And she caressed the boy and the dog. The good people 
gave the child food and drink, and said he should be 
permitted to stay the night with them ; and next day 
Father Guiseppe would speak to his mother. A little simple 
bed was assigned to him, but for him who had often slept on 
the hard stones it was a royal couch ; and he slept sweetly, 


and dreamed of the splendid pictures and of the Metal 

Father Guiseppe went out next morning : the poor 
child was not glad of this, for he knew that the object of 
the errand was to send him back to his mother. He wept, 
and kissed the merry little dog, and the woman nodded 
approvingly at both. 

What news did Father Guiseppe bring home ? He 
spoke a great deal with his wife, and she nodded and sti'oked 
the boy's cheek. 

' He is a capital lad ! ' said she. ' He may become an 
accomplished glove-maker, like you ; and look what 
delicate fingers he has ! Madonna intended him for a 

And the boy stayed in the house, and the woman herself 
taught him to sew : he ate well, slept well, and became 
merry, and began to tease Bellissima, as the little dog was 
called ; but the woman grew angry at this, and scolded 
and threatened him with her finger. This touched the 
boy's heart, and he sat thoughtful in his little chamber. 
This chamber looked upon the street, in which skins were 
dried ; there were thick bars of iron before his window. 
He could not sleep, for the Metal Pig was always present 
in his thoughts, and suddenly he heard outside a pit-pat. 
That must be the Pig ! He sprang to the window, but 
nothing was to be seen — it had passed by already. 

' Help the gentleman to carry his box of colours,' said the 
woman next morning to the boy, when their young neigh- 
bour the artist passed by, carrpng a paint-box and a large 
rolled canvas. 

The boy took the box, and followed the painter ; they 
betook themselves to the gallery, and mounted the same 
staircase which he remembered well from the night when 
he had ridden on the Metal Pig. He recognized the statues 
and pictures, the beautiful marble Venus, and the Venus 
that lived in the picture ; and again he saw the Madonna, 
and the Saviour, and St. John. 

They stood still before the picture by Bronzino, in which 
Christ is descending into hell, and the children smiling 
around him in the sweet expectation of heaven. The poor 
child smiled too, for he felt as if his heaven were here. 


* Go home now,' said the painter, when the boy had 
stood until the other had set up his easel. 

' May I see you paint ? ' asked the boy. * May I see 
you put the picture upon this white canvas ? ' 

' I am not going to paint yet,' replied the man ; and he 
brought out a piece of black crayon. His hand moved 
quickly ; his eye measured the great picture, and though 
nothing appeared but a thin line, the figure of the Saviour 
stood there, as in the coloured picture. 

' Why don't you go ? ' said the painter. 

And the boy wandered home silently, and seated himself 
on the table and learned to sew gloves. 

But all day long his thoughts were in the picture gallery ; 
and so it came that he pricked his fingers, and was awkward ; 
but he did not tease BelHssima. When evening came, and 
when the house door stood open, he crept out : it was cold 
but starlight, a bright beautiful evening. Away he went 
through the already deserted streets, and soon came to 
the Metal Pig. He bent down on it, kissed its shining 
mouth, and seated himself on its back. 

' You happy creature ! ' he said ; ' how I have longed 
for you ! We must take a ride to-night.' 

The Metal Pig lay motionless, and the fresh stream 
gushed forth from its mouth. The little boy sat astride 
on its back : then something tugged at his clothes. He 
looked down, and there was Bellissima — little smooth- 
shaven Bellissima — the dog had crept out of the house 
along with him, and had followed him without his noticing 
it. Bellissima barked as if she would have said, ' Here am 
I too : why are you sitting there ? ' A fiery dragon could 
not have terrified the boy so much as did the little dog 
in this place. Bellissima in the street, and not dressed, as 
the old lady called it ! What would be the end of it ? 
The dog never came out in winter, except attired in a little 
lamb-skin, which had been cut out and made into a coat 
for him ; it was made to fasten with a red ribbon round 
the little dog's neck and body, and was adorned with bows 
and with bells. The dog looked almost like a little kid, 
when in winter he got permission to patter out with his 
mistress. Bellissima was outside, and not dressed ! what 
would be the end of it 1 All his fancies were put to flight ; 


yet the boy kissed the Metal Pig once more, and then took 
BelHssima on his arm : the little thing trembled with cold, 
therefore the boy ran as fast as he could. 

' What are you running away with there ? ' asked two 
gendarmes whom he met, and at whom Bellissima barked. 
' Where have you stolen that pretty dog ? ' they asked, 
and they took it away from him. 

' Oh, give it back to me 1 ' cried the boy despairingly. 

' If you have not stolen him, you may say at home that 
the dog may be sent for to the watch-house.' And they 
told him where the watch-house was, and went away with 

Here was a terrible calamity ! The boy did not know 
whether he should jump into the Amo, or go home and 
confess everything ; they would certainly kill him, he 

' But I will gladly be killed ; then I shall die and get to 
heaven,' he reasoned. And he went home, principally with 
the idea of being killed. 

The door was locked, and he could not reach the knocker ; 
no one was in the street, but a stone lay there, and with 
this he thundered at the door. 

' Who is there ? ' cried somebody from within. 

' It is I,' said he. ' The dog is gone. Open the door, and 
then kill me ! ' 

There was quite a panic. Madame was especially 
concerned for poor Bellissima. She immediately looked at 
the wall, where the dog's dress usually hung, and there 
was the little lamb-skin. 

' Bellissima in the watch-house ! ' she cried aloud. ' You 
bad boy ! How did you entice her out ? She'll be frozen, 
the poor delicate little thing ! among those rough soldiers.' 

The father was at once sent off — the woman lamented 
and the boy wept. All the inhabitants of the house came 
together, and among the rest the painter : he took the 
boy between his knees and questioned him ; and in broken 
sentences he heard the whole story about the Metal Pig and 
the gallery, which was certainly rather incomprehensible. 

The painter consoled the little fellow, and tried to calm 
the old lady's anger ; but she would not be pacified until 
the father came in with Bellissima, who had been among 


the soldiers ; then there was great rejoicing ; and the 
painter caressed the boy, and gave him a handful of 

Oh, those were capital pieces — such funny heads ! — and 
truly the Metal Pig was there among them, bodily. Oh, 
nothing could be more superb 1 By means of a few strokes 
it was made to stand there on the paper, and even the 
house that stood behind it was sketched in. 

Oh, if one could only draw and paint 1 Then one could 
bring the whole world to oneself. 

On the first leisure moment of the following day, the 
Httle fellow seized the pencil, and on the back of one of the 
pictures he attempted to. copy the drawing of the Metal 
Pig, and he succeeded ! — it was certainly rather crooked, 
rather up and down, one leg thick and another thin ; but 
still it was to be recognized, and he rejoiced himself at it. 
The pencil would not quite work as it should do, that he 
could well observe ; but on the next day a second Metal 
Pig was drawn by the side of the first, and this looked 
a hundred times better ; and the third was already so 
good that every one could tell what it was meant for. 

But the glove-making prospered little, and his errands 
in the to'v\Ti were executed but slowly ; for the Metal Pig 
had taught him that all pictures may be drawn on paper ; 
and Florence is a picture-book for any one who chooses to 
turn over its pages. On the Piazza del Trinitd stands 
a slender pillar, and upon it the goddess of justice, blind- 
folded and with her scales in her hand. Soon she was 
placed on the paper, and it was the little glove-maker's boy 
who placed her there. The collection of pictures increased, 
but as yet it only contained representations of lifeless objects, 
when one day Bellissima came gambolling before him. 

' Stand still 1 ' said he, ' then you shall be made beautiful 
and put into my collection.' 

But Bellissima would not stand still, so she had to be 
bound fast ; her head and tail were tied, and she barked 
and jumped, and the string had to be pulled tight ; and 
then the signora came in 

^ You wicked boy ! — The poor creature ! ' w^as all she 
could utter. 

And she pushed the boy aside, thrust him away with 


her foot, ordered him out of her house, and called him 
a most ungrateful good-for-nothing and a wicked boy ; 
and then, weeping, she kissed her little half -strangled 

At this very moment the painter came upstairs, and 
here is the turning-point of the story. 

In the year 1834 there was an exhibition in the Academy 
of Arts at Florence. Two pictures, placed side by side, 
collected a number of spectators. The smaller of the two 
represented a merry little boy who sat drawing, with a little 
white Spitz dog, curiously shorn, for his model ; but the 
animal would not stand still, and was therefore bound by 
a string fastened to its head and its tail. There was a 
truth and life in this picture that interested every one. 
The painter was said to be a young Florentine, who had 
been found in the streets in his childhood, had been brought 
up by an old glove-maker, and had taught himself to draw. 
It was further said that a painter, now become famous, 
had discovered this talent just as the boy was to be sent 
away for tying up the favourite little dog of Madame, and 
using it as a model. 

The glove-maker's boy had become a great painter : 
the picture proved this, and still more the larger picture 
that stood beside it. Here was represented only one figure, 
a handsome boy, clad in rags, asleep in the street, and 
leaning against the Metal Pig in the Porta Rossa street. 
All the spectators knew the spot. The child's arms rested 
upon the head of the Pig ; the little fellow was fast asleep, 
and the lamp before the picture of the Madonna threw 
a strong effective light on the pale delicate face of the child 
— it was a beautiful picture ! A great gilt frame surrounded 
it, and on one corner of the frame a laurel wreath had been 
hung ; but a black band wound among the green leaves, 
and a streamer of crape hung down from it. For within 
the last few days the young artist had — died I 



There 's nobody in the whole world who knows so many 
stories as Ole Luk-Oie. He can tell capital histories. 

Well on in the evening, when the children still sit nicely 
at table, or upon their stools, Ole Luk-Oie comes. Ho 
comes up the stairs quite softly, for he walks in his socks : 

he opens the door noiselessly, and whisk! he squirts 
sweet milk in the children's eyes, a small, small stream, 
but enough to prevent them from keeping their eyes open ; 
and thus they cannot see him. He creeps just among them, 
and blows softly upon their necks, and this makes their 
heads heavy. Yes, but it doesn't hurt them, for Ole 
Luk-Oie is very fond of the children ; he only wants them 


to be quiet, and that they are not until they are taken to 
bed : they are to be quiet that he may tell them stories. 

When the children sleep, Ole Luk-Oie sits down upon 
their bed. He is well dressed : his coat is of silk, but it is 
impossible to say of what colour, for it shines red, green, 
and blue, according as he turns. Under each arm he carries 
an umbrella : the one with pictures on it he spreads over 
the good children, and then they dream all night the most 
glorious stories ; but on his other umbrella nothing at all 
is painted : this he spreads over the naughty children, and 
these sleep in a dull way, and when they awake in the 
morning they have not dreamed of anything. 

Now we shall hear how Ole Luk-Oie, every evening 
through one whole week, came to a little boy named 
Hjalmar, and w^hat he told him. There are seven stories, 
for there are seven days in the week. 


* Listen,' said Ole Luk-Oie in the evening, when he had 
put Hjalmar to bed ; ' now I'll decorate.' 

And all the flowers in the flower-pots became great trees, 
stretching out their long branches under the ceiling of the 
room and along the walls, so that the whole room looked 
like a beauteous bower ; and all the twigs were covered 
with flowers, and each flower was more beautiful than a rose, 
and smelt so sweet that one wanted to eat it — it was sweeter 
than jam. The fruit gleamed like gold, and there were 
cakes bursting with raisins. It was incomparably beautiful. 
But at the same time a terrible wail sounded from the table 
drawer, where Hjalmar's school-book lay. 

' Whatever can that be ? ' said Ole Luk-Oie ; and he 
went to the table, and opened the drawer. It was the 
slate which was suffering from convulsions, for a wrong 
number had got into the sum, so that it was nearly falling 
in pieces ; the slate pencil tugged and jumped at its string, 
as if it had been a little dog who wanted to help the sum ; 
but he could not. And thus there was a great lamentation 
in Hjalmar's copy-book ; it was quite terrible to hear. 
On each page the great letters stood in a row, one under- 
neath the other, and each with a little one at its side ; that 


was the copy ; and next to these were a few more letters 
which thought they looked just like the first ; and these 
Hjalmar had written ; but they lay down just as if they 
had tumbled over the pencil lines on which they were 
to stand. 

' See, this is how you should hold yourselves,' said the 
Copy. * Look, sloping in this way, with a powerful 
swing ! ' 

' Oh, we should be very glad to do that,' replied Hjalmar's 
Letters, ' but we cannot ; we are too weakly.' 

' Then you must take medicine,' said Ole Luk-Oie. 

' Oh, no,' cried they ; and they immediately stood up so 
gracefully that it was beautiful to behold. 

' Yes, now we cannot tell any stories,' said Ole Luk-Oie ; 
' now I must exercise them. One, two ! one, two ! ' and 
thus he exercised the Letters ; and they stood quite 
slender, and as beautiful as any copy can be. But when 
Ole Luk-Oie went away, and Hjalmar looked at them next 
morning, they were as weak and miserable as ever. 


As soon as Hjalmar was in bed, Ole Luk-Oie touched all 
the furniture in the room with his little magic squirt, and 
they immediately began to converse together, and each 
one spoke of itself, with the exception of the spittoon, 
which stood silent, and was vexed that they should be so 
vain as to speak only of themselves, and think only of 
themselves, without any regard for him who stood so 
modestly in the corner for every one's use. 

Over the chest of drawers hung a great picture in a gilt 
frame — it was a landscape. One saw therein large old 
trees, flowers in the grass, and a large lake with a river 
which flowed round about a forest, past many castles, and 
far out into the wide ocean. 

Ole Luk-Oie touched the painting with his magic squirt, 
and the birds in it began to sing, the branches of the trees 
stirred, and the clouds began to move across it ; one 
could see their shadows glide over the landscape. 

Now Ole Luk-Oie lifted little Hjalmar up to the frame, 
and put the boy's feet into the picture, just in the high 


grass ; and there he stood ; and the sun shone upon him 
through the branches of the trees. He ran to the water, 
and seated himself in a Httle boat which lay there ; it was 
painted red and white, the sails gleamed like silver, and 
six swans, each with a gold circlet round its neck and a 
bright blue star on its forehead, drew the boat past the 
great wood, where the trees told of robbers and witches, 
and the flowers told of the graceful httle elves, and of 
what the butterflies had told them. 

Gorgeous fishes, with scales like silver and gold, swam 
after their boat ; sometimes they gave a spring, so that it 
splashed in the water ; and birds, blue and red, little and 
great, flew after them in two long rows ; the gnats danced, 
and the cockchafers said, ' Boom ! boom ! ' They all 
wanted to follow Hjalmar, and each one had a story 
to tell. 

That was a pleasure voyage. Sometimes the forest was 
thick and dark, sometimes like a glorious garden full of 
sunlight and flowers ; and there were great palaces of 
glass and of marble ; on the balconies stood Princesses, 
and these were all little girls whom Hjalmar knew well — he 
had already played with them. Each one stretched forth 
her hand, and held out the prettiest sugar heart which 
ever a cake-woman could sell ; and Hjalmar took hold of 
each sugar heart as he passed by, and the Princess held 
fast, so that each of them got a piece — she the smaller 
share, and Hjalmar the larger. At each palace little 
Princes stood sentry. They shouldered golden swords, 
and caused raisins and tin soldiers to shower down : one 
could see that they were real Princes. Sometimes Hjalmar 
sailed through forests, sometimes through great halls or 
through the midst of a town. He also came to the town 
where his nurse lived, who had carried him in her arms 
when he was quite a little boy, and who had always been 
so kind to him ; and she nodded and beckoned, and sang 
the pretty verse she had made herself and had sent to 

I've loved thee, and kissed thee, Hjalmar, dear boy; 

I've watched thee waking and sleeping ; 
May the good Lord guard thee in sorrow, in joy. 

And have thee in His keeping. 


And all the birds sang too, the flowers danced on their 
stalks, and the old trees nodded, just as if Ole Luk-Oie 
had been telling stories to them. 


How the rain was streaming down without ! Hjalmar 
could hear it in his sleep ; and when Ole Luk-Oie opened 
a window, the water stood right up to the window-sill : 
there was quite a lake outside, and a noble ship lay close 
by the house. 

' If thou wilt sail with me, little Hjalmar,' said Ole 
Luk-Oie, ' thou canst voyage to-night to foreign climes, 
and be back again to-morrow.' 

And Hjalmar suddenly stood in his Sunday clothes upon 
the glorious ship, and immediately the weather became 
fine, and they sailed through the streets, and steered 
round by the church ; and now everything was one great 
wild ocean. They sailed on until land was no longer to be 
seen, and they saw a number of storks, who also came from 
their home, and were traveUing towards the hot countries : 
these storks flew in a row, one behind the other, and they 
had already flown far — far ! One of them was so weary 
that his wings would scarcely carry him farther : he was 
the very last in the row, and soon remained a great way 
behind the rest ; at last he sank, with outspread wings, 
deeper and deeper ; he gave a few more strokes with his 
pinions, but it was of no use ; now he touched the rigging 
of the ship with his feet, then he glided down from the 
sail, and — ^bump ! — he stood upon the deck. 

Now the cabin boy took him and put him into the hen- 
coop with the Fowls, Ducks, and Turkeys ; the poor 
Stork stood among them quite embarrassed. 

' Just look at the fellow ! ' said all the Fowls. 

And the Turkey-cock swelled himself up as much as ever 
he could, and asked the Stork who he was ; and the Ducks 
walked backwards and quacked to each other, ' Quackery ! 
quackery ! ' 

And the Stork told them of hot Africa, of the pyramids, 
and of the ostrich, which runs hke a wild horse through 
the desert ; but the Ducks did not understand what he 
said, and they said to one another, 



* We're all of the same opinion, namely, that he 's 

' Yes, certainly he 's stupid,' said the Turkey-cock ; and 
he gobbled. 

Then the stork was quite silent, and thought of his 

' Those are wonderful thin legs of yours,' said the Turkey- 
cock. ' Pray, how much do they cost a yard ? ' 

' Quack ! quack ! quack ! ' grinned all the Ducks ; but 
the Stork pretended not to hear it at all. 

' You may just as well laugh too,' said the Turkey-cock 
to him, ' for that was very wittily said. Or was it, perhaps, 
too high for you ? Yes, yes, he isn't very penetrating. 
Let us continue to be interesting among ourselves.' 

And the Hens clucked, and the Ducks quacked, ' Gick ! 
gack ! gick ! gack ! ' It was terrible how they made fun 
among themselves. 

But Hjalmar went to the hencoop, opened the back door, 
and called to the Stork ; and the Stork hopped out to him 
on to the deck. Now he had rested, and it seemed as if 
he nodded at Hjalmar, to thank him. Then he spread his 
wings, and flew away to the warm countries ; but the 
Fowls clucked, and the Ducks quacked, and the Turkey- 
cock became fiery red in the face. 

' To-morrow we shall make soup of you,' said Hjalmar ; 


and so saying he awoke, and was lying in his Uttle bed. 
It was a wonderful journey that Ole Luk-Oie had caused 
him to take that night. 


' I tell you what,' said Ole Luk-Oie, ' you must not be 
frightened. Here you shall see a little Mouse,' and he held 
out his hand with the pretty little creature in it. ' It has 
come to invite you to a wedding. There are two little 
Mice here who are going to enter into the marriage state 
to-night. They live under the floor of your mother's store- 
closet : that is said to be a charming dwelling-place ! ' 

* But how can I get through the little mouse-hole in the 
floor ? ' asked Hjalmar. 

' Let me manage that,' said Ole Luk-Oie. ' I will make 
you small.' 

And he touched Hjalmar with his magic squirt, and the 
boy began to shrink and shrink, until he was not so long 
as a finger. 

' Now you may borrow the uniform of a tin soldier : 
I think it would fit you, and it looks well to wear a uniform 
when one is in society.' 

' Yes, certainly,' said Hjalmar. 

And in a moment he was dressed like the smartest of tin 

' Will you not be kind enough to take a seat in your 
mamma's thimble ? ' asked the Mouse. ' Then I shall 
have the honour of drawing you.' 

' Will the young lady really take so much trouble ? ' 
cried Hjalmar. 


And thus they drove to the mouse's wedding. First 
they came into a long passage beneath the boards, which 
was only just so high that they could drive through it in the 
thimble ; and the whole passage was lit up with rotten wood. 

' Is there not a delicious smell here ? ' observed the 
Mouse. ' The entire road has been greased with bacon 
rinds, and there can be nothing more exquisite.' 

Now they came into the festive hall. On the right hand 
stood all the little lady mice ; and they whispered and 
giggled as if they were making fun of each other ; on the 
left stood all the gentlemen mice, stroking their whiskers 
with their fore paws ; and in the centre of the hall the 
bridegroom and bride might be seen standing in a hollow 
cheese rind, and kissing each other terribly before all the 
guests ; for of course they were engaged, and were just 
about to be married. 

More and more strangers kept flocking in. One mouse 
was nearly treading another to death ; and the happy 
couple had stationed themselves just in the doorway, so 
that one could neither come in nor go out. Like the 
passage, the room had been greased with bacon rinds, and 
that was the entire banquet ; but for the dessert a pea 
was produced, in which a mouse belonging to the family 
had bitten the name of the betrothed pair — ^that is to say, 
the first letter of the name : that was something quite 
out of the common way. 

All the mice said it was a beautiful wedding, and that 
the entertainment had been very agreeable. And then 
Hialmar drove home again : he had really been in grand 
company ; but he had been obliged to shrink in, to make 
himself little, and to put on a tin soldier's uniform. 

' It is wonderful how many grown-up people there are 
who would be glad to have me ! ' said Ole Luk-Oie ; 
' especially those who have done something wrong. " Good 
little Ole," they say to me, " we cannot close our eyes, 
and so we lie all night and see our evil deeds, which sit on 
the bedstead like ugly little goblins, and throw hot water 
over us ; will you not come and drive them away, so that 
we may have a good sleep ? " — and then they sigh deeply 


— " we would really be glad to pay for it. Good night, 
Ole ; the money lies on the window-sill." But I do nothing 
for money,' says Ole Luk-Oie.' 

' What shall we do this evening ? ' asked Hjalmar. 

' I don't know if you care to go to another wedding 
to-night. It is of a different kind from that of yesterday. 
Your sister's great doll, that looks like a man, and is called 
Hermann, is going to marry the doll Bertha. Moreover, 
it is the doll's birthday, and therefore they will receive 
very many presents.' 

' Yes, I know that,' replied Hjalmar. ' Whenever the 
dolls want new clothes my sister lets them either keep their 
birthday or celebrate a wedding ; that has certainly 
happened a hundred times already.' 

' Yes, but to-night is the hundred and first w^edding ; 
and when number one hundred and one is past, it is all 
over ; and that is why it will be so splendid. Only look ! ' 

And Hjalmar looked at the table. There stood the little 
cardboard house with the windows illuminated, and in 
front of it all the tin soldiers were presenting arms. The 
bride and bridegroom sat quite thoughtful, and with good 
reason, on the floor, leaning against a leg of the table. 
And Ole Luk-Oie, dressed up in the grandmother's black 
gown, married them to each other. When the ceremony 
was over, all the pieces of furniture struck up the follow- 
ing beautiful song, which the pencil had written for them. 
It was sung to the melody of the soldiers' tattoo. 

Let the song swell like the rushing wind, 
In honour of those who this day are joined, 
Although they stand here so stiff and blind. 
Because they are both of a leathery kind. 
Hurrah ! hurrah ! though they're deaf and blind. 
Let the song swell like the rushing wind. 

And now they received presents — but they had declined 
to accept provisions of any kind, for they intended to live 
on love. 

' Shall we now go into a summer lodging, or start on 
a journey ? ' asked the bridegroom. 

And the Swallow, who was a great traveller, and the old 
yard Hen, who had brought up five broods of chickens, 
were consulted on the subject. And the Swallow told of 


the beautiful warm climes, where the grapes hung in ripe 
heavy clusters, where the air is mild, and the mountains 
glow with colours unknown here. 

' But they have not our green colewort there ! ' objected 
the Hen. * I was in the country, with my children one 
summer. There was a sand pit, in which we could walk 
about and scratch ; and we had the entree to a garden 
where green colewort grew : Oh, how green it was ! I 
cannot imagine anything more beautiful.' 

' But one cole-plant looks just like another,' said the 
Swallow ; ' and the weather here is often so bad.' 

' One is accustomed to that,' said the Hen. 

' But it is so cold here, it freezes.' 

' That is good for the cole worts ! ' said the Hen. ' Be- 
sides, it can also be warm. Did we not, four years ago, 
have a summer which lasted five weeks ? it was so hot 
here that one could scarcely breathe ; and then we have 
not all the poisonous animals that infest these warm 
countries of yours, and we are free from robbers. He is 
a villain who does not consider our country the most 
beautiful — he certainly does not deserve to be here ! ' 
And then the Hen wept, and went on : 'I have also 
travelled. I rode in a coop above fifty miles ; and there 
is no pleasure at all in travelling ! ' 

' Yes, the Hen is a sensible woman ! ' said the doll 
Bertha. ' I don't think anything either of travelling 
among mountains, for you only have to go up, and then 
down again. No, we will go into the sand pit beyond the 
gate, and walk about in the cole wort -patch.' 

And so it was settled. 


* Am I to hear some stories now ? ' asked little Hjalmar, 
as soon as Ole Luk-Oie had got him into bed. 

' This evening we have no time for that,' repHed Ole ; 
and he spread his fine umbrella over the lad. ' Only look 
at these Chinamen ! ' 

And the whole umbrella looked like a great China dish, 
with blue trees and pointed bridges with little Chinamen 
upon them, who stood there nodding their heads. 

' We must have the whole world prettily decked out for 


to-morrow morning,' said Ole, ' for that is a holiday — ^it 
is Sunday. I will go to the church steeples to see that the 
little church goblins are polishing the bells, that they may 
sound sweetly. I will go out into the field, and see if the 
breezes are blowing the dust from the grass and leaves ; 
and, what is the greatest work of all, I will bring down all 
the stars, to polish them. I take them in my apron ; but 
first each one must be numbered, and the holes in which 
they are fixed up there must be numbered likewise, so that 
they may be placed in the same holes again ; otherwise 
they would not sit fast, and we should have too many 
shooting stars, for one after another would fall down.' 

' Hark-ye ! Do you know, Mr. Luk-Oie,' said an old 
Portrait which hung on the wall w^here Hjalmar slept, 
' I am Hjalmar's great-grandfather. I thank you for telling 
the boy stories ; but you must not confuse his ideas. The 
stars cannot be taken down and polished ! The stars are 
world-orbs, just like our own earth, and that is just the 
good thing about them.' 

' I thank you, old great-grandfather,' said Ole Luk-Oie, 
' I thank you ! You are the head of the family. You are 
the ancestral head ; but I am older than you ! I am an 
old heathen : the Romans and Greeks called me the Dream 
God. I have been in the noblest houses, and am admitted 
there still ! I know how to act with great people and with 
small. Now you may tell your own story ! ' And Ole 
Luk-Oie took his umbrella, and went away. 

' Well, well ! May one not even give an opinion now-a- 
days ? ' grumbled the old Portrait. And Hjalmar awoke. 


' Good evening ! ' said Ole Luk-Oie ; and Hjalmar 
nodded, and then ran and turned his great-grandfather's 
Portrait against the wall, that it might not interrupt them, 
as it had done yesterday. 

' Now you must tell me stories ; about the five green 
peas that lived in one pod, and about the cock's foot that 
paid court to the hen's foot, and of the darning-needle 
who gave herself such airs because she thought herself 
a sewing needle.' 

' There may be too much of a good thing ! ' said Ole 



Luk-Oie. ' You know that I prefer showing you some- 
thing. I will show you my own brother. His name, like 
mine, is Ole Luk-Oie, but he never comes to any one more 
than once ; and he takes him to whom he comes upon his 
horse, and tells him stories. He only knows two. One of 
these is so exceedingly beautiful that no one in the world 

can imagine it, and the other so horrible and dreadful that 
it cannot be described.' 

And then Ole Luk-Oie lifted little Hjalmar up to the 
window, and said, 

' There you will see my brother, the other Ole Luk-Oie. 
They also call him Death ! Do you see, he does not look 
so terrible as they make him in the picture-books, where 
he is only a skeleton. No, that is silver embroidery that 


he has on his coat ; that is a splendid hussar's uniform ; 
a mantle of black velvet flies behind him over the horse. 
See how he gallops along ! ' 

And Hjalmar saw how this Ole Luk-Oie rode away, and 
took young people as well as old upon his horse. Some of 
them he put before him, and some behind ; but he always 
asked first, ' How stands it with the mark-book ? ' ' Well,' 
they all replied. ' Yes, let me see it myself,' he said. 
And then each one had to show him the book ; and those 
who had ' very well ' and ' remarkably well ' written in 
their books, were placed in front of his horse, and a lovely 
story was told to them ; while those who had ' middling ' 
or ' tolerably well,' had to sit up behind, and hear a very 
terrible story indeed. They trembled and wept, and 
wanted to jump off the horse, but this they could not do, 
for they had all, as it were, grown fast to it. 

' But Death is a most splendid Ole Luk-Oie,' said Hjalmar. 
' I am not afraid of him ! ' 

' Nor need you be,' replied Ole Luk-Oie ; ' but see that 
you have a good mark-book ! ' 

' Yes, that is instructive ! ' muttered the great-grand- 
father's Picture. ' It is of some use after all giving one's 
opinion.' And now he was satisfied. 

You see, that is the story of Ole Luk-Oie ; and now he 
may tell you more himself, this evening ! 




There was once a poor Prince, who had a kingdom 
which was quite small, but still it was large enough that 
he could marry upon it, and that is what he wanted to do. 
Now, it was certainly somewhat bold of him to say to 
the Emperor's daughter, ' Will you have me ? ' But he 
did venture it, for his name was famous far and wide : 
there were hundreds of Princesses who would have been 
glad to say yes ; but did she say so ? Well, we shall see. 

On the grave of the Prince's father there grew a rose 
bush, a very beautiful rose bush. It bloomed only every 
fifth year, and even then it bore only a single rose, but 
what a rose that was ! It was so sweet that whoever smelt 
at it forgot all sorrow and trouble. And then he had 
a nightingale, which could sing as if all possible melodies 
were collected in its little throat. This rose and this 
nightingale the Princess was to have, and therefore they 
were put into great silver cases and sent to her. 

The Emperor caused the presents to be carried before 
him into the great hall where the Princess was playing 
at ' visiting ' with her maids of honour (they did nothing 
else), and when she saw the great silver cases with the 
presents in them, she clapped her hands with joy. 

' If it were only a little pussy-cat ! ' said she. 

But then came out the splendid rose. 

' Oh, how pretty it is made ! ' said all the court ladies. 

' It is more than pretty,' said the Emperor, ' it is charm- 

But the Princess felt it, and then she almost began to 

' Fie, papa ! ' she said, ' it is not artificial, it 's a natural 
rose ! ' 

' Fie,' said all the court ladies, ' it 's a natural one ! ' 

' Let us first see what is in the other case before we get 
angry,' said the Emperor. And then the nightingale came 
out ; it sang so beautifully that they did not at once know 
what to say against it. 


' Superbe ! charmant ! ' said the maids of honour, for 
they all spoke French, the one worse than the other. 

' How that bird reminds me of the late Empress's musical 
snuff-box,' said an old cavalier. ' Yes, it is the same tone, 
the same expression.' 

' Yes,' said the Emperor ; and then he wept like a little 

' I really hope it is not a natural bird,' said the Princess. 

' Yes, it is a natural bird,' said they who had brought it. 

' Then let the bird fly away,' said the Princess ; and she 
would by no means allow the Prince to come. 

But the Prince was not at all dismayed. He stained his 
face brown and black, drew his hat down over his brows, 
and knocked at the door. 

' Good day. Emperor,' he said : * could I not be employed 
here in the castle ? ' 

'Well,' replied the Emperor, *but there are so many 
who want places ; but let me see, I want some one who can 
keep the pigs, for we have many of them.' 

So the Prince was appointed the Emperor's swineherd. 
He received a miserable small room down by the pig-sty, 
and here he was obliged to stay ; but all day long he sat 
and worked, and when it was evening he had finished 
a neat little pot, with bells all round it, and when the pot 
boiled these bells rang out prettily and played the old 
melody — 

Oh, my darling Augustine, 
All is lost, all is lost. 

But the cleverest thing about the whole arrangement was, 
that by holding one's finger in the steam from the pot, one 
could at once smell what food was being cooked at every 
hearth in the town. That was quite a different thing from 
the rose. 

Now the Princess came with all her maids of honour, 
and when she heard the melody she stood still and looked 
quite pleased ; for she, too, could play ' Oh, my darling 
Augustine.' It was the only thing she could play, but then 
she played it with one finger. 

' Why, that is what I play ! ' she cried. ' He must be 
an educated swineherd ! Hark-ye : go down and ask the 
price of the instrument.' 


So one of the maids of honour had to go down ; but first 
she put on a pair of pattens. 

' What do you want for the pot ? ' inquired the lady. 

' I want ten kisses from the Princess,' repHed the swine- 

' Heaven preserve us ! ' exclaimed the maid of honour. 

' Well, I won't sell it for less,' said the swineherd. 

' Well, what did he say ? ' asked the Princess. 

' I really can't repeat it, it is so shocking,' replied the 

' Well, you can whisper it in my ear.' And the lady 
whispered it to her. — ' He is very rude,' declared the 
Princess ; and she went away. But when she had gone 
a little way, the bells sounded so prettily — 

Oh, my darling Augustine, 
All is lost, all is lost. 

* Hark-ye,' said the Princess : ' ask him if he will take ten 
kisses from my maids of honour.' 

' No, thanks,' replied the swineherd : ' ten kisses from 
the Princess, or I shall keep my pot.' 

' How tiresome that is ! ' cried the Princess. ' But at 
least you must stand round me, so that nobody sees it.' 

And the maids of honour stood round her, and spread 
out their dresses, and then the swineherd received ten 
kisses, and she received the pot. 

Then there was rejoicing ! All the evening and all the 
day long the pot was kept boiling ; there was not a kitchen 
hearth in the whole town of which they did not know what 
it had cooked, at the shoemaker's as well as the chamber- 
lain's. The ladies danced with pleasure, and clapped their 

' We know who will have sweet soup and pancakes for 
dinner, and who has hasty pudding and cutlets ; how 
interesting that is ! ' 

' Very interesting ! ' said the head lady -superintendent. 

' Yes, but keep counsel, for I'm the Emperor's daughter.' 

' Yes, certainly,' said all. 

The swineherd, that is to say, the Prince — but of course 
they did not know but that he was a real swineherd — let 
no day pass by without doing something, and so he made 



a rattle ; when any person swung this rattle, he could play 
all the waltzes, hops, and polkas that have been known 
since the creation of the world 

' But that is superb^ ! ' cried the Princess, as she went 
past. ' I have never heard a finer composition. Hark-ye : 
go down and ask what the instrument costs ; but I give 
no more kisses.' 

' He demands a hundred kisses from the Princess,' said 


the maid of honour who had gone down to make the 

' I think he must be mad ! ' exclaimed the Princess ; and 
she went away ; but when she had gone a little distance 
she stood still. ' One must encourage art,' she observed. 
' I am the Emperor's daughter ! Tell him he shall receive 
ten kisses, like last time, and he may take the rest from 
my maids of honour.' 

'Ah, but we don't like to do it ! ' said the maids of honour. 

' That 's all nonsense ! ' retorted the Princess, ' and if 
I can allow myself to be kissed, you can too : remember, 
I give you board and wages.' 

And so the maids of honour had to go down to him again. 

' A hundred kisses from the Princess,' said he, 'or each 
shall keep his own.' 

' Stand round me,' said she then ; and all the maids of 
honour stood round her while he kissed the Princess. 

' What is that crowd down by the pig-sty ? ' asked the 
Emperor, who had stepped out to the balcony. He rubbed 
his eyes, and put on his spectacles. ' Why, those are the 
maids of honour, at their tricks, yonder ; I shall have to 
go down to them.' 

And he pulled up his slippers behind, for they were shoes 
that he had trodden down at heel. Gracious mercy, how 
he hurried ! So soon as he came down in the courtyard, 
he went quite softly, and the maids of honour were too 
busy counting the kisses, and seeing fair play, to notice 
the Emperor. Then he stood on tiptoe. 

' What 's that ? ' said he, when he saw that there was 
kissing going on ; and he hit them on the head with his 
slipper, just as the swineherd was taking the eighty- 
sixth kiss. 

' Be off ! ' said the Emperor, for he was angry. 

And the Princess and the swineherd were both expelled 
from his dominions. So there she stood and cried, the rain 
streamed down, and the swineherd scolded. 

' Oh, miserable wretch that I am ! ' said the Princess ; 
' if I had only taken the handsome Prince ! Oh, how 
unhappy I am ! ' 

Then the swinenerd went behind a tree, washed the 
stains from his face, threw away the shabby clothes, and 


stepped forth in his princely attire, so handsome that the 
Princess was fain to bow before him. 

' I have come to this, that I despise you,' said he. ' You 
would not have an honest Prince ; you did not value the 
rose and the nightingale, but for a plaything you kissed 
the swineherd, and now you have your reward.' 

And then he went into his kingdom and shut the door 
in her face, and put the bar on. So now she might stand 
outside and sing — 

Oh, my darling Augustine, 
All is lost, all is lost. 


In China, you must know, the Emperor is a Chinaman, 
and all whom he has about him are Chinamen too. ^It 
happened a good many years ago, but that 's just why it 's 
worth while to hear the story, before it is forgotten .y The 
Emperor's palace was the most splendid in the world ; it 
was made entirely of porcelain, very costly, but so delicate 
and brittle that one had to take care how one touched it. 
In the garden were to be seen the most wonderful flowers, 
and to the costliest of them silver bells were tied, which 
sounded, so that nobody should pass by without noticing 
the flowers. Yes, everything in the Emperor's garden was 
admirably arranged. And it extended so far, that the 
gardener himself did not know where the end was. If a man 
went on and on, he came into a glorious forest with high 
trees and deep lakes. The wood extended straight down 
to the sea, which was blue and deep ; great ships could 
sail in beneath the branches of the trees ; and in the trees 
lived a Nightingale, which sang so splendidly that even the 
poor fisherman, who had many other things to do, stoj)ped 
still and listened, when he had gone out at night to take 
up his nets, and heard the Nightingale. 

' How beautiful that is ! ' he said ; but he was obliged 
to attend to his business, and thus forgot the bird. But 
when in the next night the bird sang again, and the fisher- 
man heard it, he exclaimed again, ' How beautiful that is ! ' 

Erom all the countries of the world travellers came to 
the city of the Emperor, and admired it, and the palace 


and the garden, but when they heard the Nightingale, they 
said, ' That is the best of all ! ' 

And the travellers told of it when they came home ; 
and the learned men wrote many books about the town, 
the palace, and the garden. But they did not forget the 
Nightingale ; that was placed highest of all ; and those 
who were poets wrote most magnificent poems about the 
Nightingale in the wood by the deep lake. 

The books went through all the world, and a few of 
them once came to the Emperor. He sat in his golden 
chair, and read, and read : every moment he nodded his 
head, for it pleased him to peruse the masterly descriptions 
of the city, the palace, and the garden. ' But the Nightin- 
gale is the best of all,' it stood written there. 

' What 's that ? ' exclaimed the Emperor. ' I don't 
know the Nightingale at all ! Is there such a bird in my 
empire, and even in my garden ? I've never heard of that. 
To think that I should have to learn such a thing for the 
first time from books ! ' 

And hereupon he called his cavalier. This cavalier was 
so grand that if any one lower in rank than himself dared 
to speak to him, or to ask him any question, he answered 
nothing but ' P ! ' — and that meant nothing. 

' There is said to be a wonderful bird here called a 
Nightingale ! ' said the Emperor. ' They say it is the best 
thing in all my great empire. Why have I never heard any- 
thing about it ? ' 

' I have never heard him named,' replied the cavalier. 
' He has never been introduced at court.' 

' I command that he shall appear this evening, and sing 
before me,' said the Emperor. ' All the world knows what 
I possess, and I do not know it myself ! ' 

' I have never heard him mentioned,' said the cavalier. 
' I will seek for him. I will find him.' 

But where was he to be found ? The cavalier ran up 
and down all the staircases, through halls and passages, 
but no one among all those whom he met had heard talk 
of the nightingale. And the cavalier ran back to the 
Emperor, and said that it must be a fable invented by the 
writers of books. 

' Your Imperial Majesty cannot believe how much is 


written that is fiction, besides something that they call the 
black art.' 

' But the book in which I read this,' said the Emperor, 
' was sent to me by the high and mighty Emperor of Japan, 
and therefore it cannot be a falsehood. I will hear the 
Nightingale ! It must be here this evening ! It has my 
imperial favour ; and if it does not come, all the court 
shall be trampled upon after the court has supped ! ' 

' Tsing-pe ! ' said the cavalier ; and again he ran up 
and down all the staircases, and through all the halls and 
corridors ; and half the court ran with him, for the courtiers 
did not like being trampled upon. 

Then there was a great inquiry after the wonderful 
Nightingale, which all the world knew excepting the people 
at court. 

At last they met with a poor little girl in the kitchen, 
who said, 

' The Nightingale ? I know it well ; yes, it can sing 
gloriously. Every evening I get leave to carry my poor 
sick mother the scraps from the table. She lives down by 
the strand, and when I get back and am tired, and rest in 
the wood, then I hear the Nightingale sing. And then the 
water comes into my eyes, and it is just as if my mother 
kissed me ! ' 

' Little girl,' said the cavalier, ' I will get you a place 
in the kitchen, with permission to see the Emperor dine, if 
you will lead us to the Nightingale, for it is announced 
for this evening.' 

So they all went out into the wood where the Nightingale 
was accustomed to sing ; half the court went forth. When 
they were in the midst of their journey a cow began to low. 

' Oh ! ' cried the court page, ' now we have it ! That 
shows a wonderful power in so small a creature ! I have 
certainly heard it before.' 

' No, those are cows lowing ! ' said the little kitchen- 
girl. ' We are a long way from the place yet.' 

Now the frogs began to croak in the marsh. 

' Glorious ! ' said the Chinese court preacher. ' Now 
I hear it — it sounds just hke little church bells.' 

' No, those are frogs ! ' said the little kitchen-maid. ' But 
now I think we shall soon hear it.' 

AND. F. T. jj 3 


And then the Nightingale began to sing. 

' That is it ! ' exclaimed the little girl. ' Listen, listen ! 
and yonder it sits.' 

And she pointed to a little grey bird up in the boughs. 

' Is it possible ? ' cried the cavalier. ' I should never 
have thought it looked like that ! How plain it looks ! 
It must certainly have lost its colour at seeing such grand 
people around.' 

' Little Nightingale ! ' called the little kitchen-maid, 
quite loudly, ' our gracious Emperor wishes you to sing 
before him.' 

' With the greatest pleasure ! ' replied the Nightingale, 
and began to sing most delightfully. 

' It sounds just like glass bells ! ' said the cavalier. ' And 
look at its little throat, how it 's working ! It 's wonderful 
that we should never have heard it before. That bird will 
be a great success at court.' 

' Shall I sing once more before the Emperor ? ' asked 
the Nightingale, for it thought the Emperor was present. 

' My excellent little Nightingale,' said the cavalier, ' I 
have great pleasure in inviting you to a court festival this 
evening, when you shall charm his Imperial Majesty with 
your beautiful singing.' 

' My song sounds best in the green wood ! ' replied the 
Nightingale ; still it came willingly when it heard what 
the Emperor wished. 

The palace was festively adorned. The walls and the 
flooring, which were of porcelain, gleamed in the rays of 
thousands of golden lamps. The most glorious flowers, 
which could ring clearly, had been placed in the passages. 
There was a running to and fro, and a thorough draught, 
and all the bells rang so loudly that one could not hear 
oneself speak. 

In the midst of the great hall, where the Emperor sat, 
a golden perch had been placed, on which the Nightingale 
was to sit. The whole court was there, and the little 
kitchen-maid had got leave to stand behind the door, as 
she had now received the title of a real court cook. All 
were in full dress, and all looked at the little grey bird, to 
which the Emperor nodded. 

And the Nightingale sang so gloriously that the tears 


came into the Emperor's eyes, and the tears ran down 
over his cheeks ; and then the Nightingale sang still more 
sweetly, so that its song went straight to the heart. The 
Emperor was so much pleased that he said the Nightingale 
should have his golden slipper to wear round its neck. But 
the Nightingale declined this with thanks, saying it had 
already received a sufficient reward. 

' I have seen tears in the Emperor's eyes — that is the 
real treasure to me. An Emperor's tears have a peculiar 
power. I am rewarded enough ! ' And then it sang again 
with a sweet glorious voice. 

' That 's the most amiable coquetry I ever saw ! ' said 
the ladies who stood round about, and then they took 
water in their mouths to gurgle when any one spoke to 
them. They thought they should be nightingales too. And 
the lackeys and chambermaids reported that they were 
satisfied too ; and that was saying a good deal, for they 
are the most difficult to please. In short, the Nightingale 
achieved a real success. 

It was now to remain at court, to have its own cage, with 
liberty to go out twice every day and once at night. Twelve 
servants were appointed when the Nightingale went out, 
each of whom had a silken string fastened to the bird's leg, 
and which they held very tight. There was really no 
pleasure in an excursion of that kind. 

The whole city spoke of the wonderful bird, and when 
two people met, one said nothing but 'Nightin,' and the 
other said ' gale ' ; and then they sighed, and understood 
one another. Eleven pedlars' children were named after 
the bird, but not one of them could sing a note. 

One day the Emperor received a large parcel, on which 
was \ATitten ' The Nightingale.' 

' There we have a new book about this celebrated bird,' 
said the Emperor. 

But it was not a book, but a little work of art, contained 
in a box, an artificial nightingale, which was to sing like 
the natural one, and was brilliantly ornamented v/ith 
diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. So soon as the artificial 
bird was wound up, he could sing one of the pieces that 
the real one sang, and then his tail moved up and down, 
and shone with silver and gold. Round his neck hung 


a little ribbon, and on that was written, ' The Emperor of 
Japan's nightingale is poor compared to that of the Emperor 
of China.' 

' That is capital ! ' said they all, and he who had brought 
the artificial bird immediately received the title. Imperial 
Head-Nightingale - Bringer . 

' Now they must sing together ; what a duet that will 

And so they had to sing together ; but it did not sound 
very well, for the real Nightingale sang in its own way, 
and the artificial bird sang waltzes. 

' That 's not his fault,' said the playmaster ; ' he 's quite 
perfect, and very much in my style.' 

Now the artificial bird was to sing alone. He had just 
as much success as the real one, and then it was much 
handsomer to look at — it shone like bracelets and breast- 

Three and thirty times over did it sing the same piece, 
and yet was not tired. The people would gladly have heard 
it again, but the Emperor said that the living Nightingale 
ought to sing something now. But where was it ? No 
one had noticed that it had flown away out of the open 
window, back to the green wood. 

' But what in all the world is this ? ' said the Emperor. 

And all the courtiers abused the Nightingale, and declared 
that it was a very ungrateful creature. 

' We have the best bird, after all,' said they. 

And so the artificial bird had to sing again, and that 
was the thirty-fourth time that they listened to the same 
piece. For all that they did not know it quite by heart, 
for it was so very difficult. And the playmaster praised 
the bird particularly ; yes, he declared that it was better 
than a nightingale, not only with regard to its plumage 
and the many beautiful diamonds, but inside as well. 

' For you see, ladies and gentlemen, and above all, your 
Imperial Majesty, with a real nightingale one can never 
calculate what is coming, but in this artificial bird every- 
thing is settled. One can explain it ; one can open it and 
make people understand where the waltzes come from, 
how they go, and how one follows up another.' 

' Those are quite our own ideas,' thej^ all said. 


And the speaker received permission to show the bird to 
the people on the next Sunday. The people were to hear 
it sing too, the Emperor commanded ; and they did hear 
it, and were as much pleased as if they had all got tipsy 
upon tea, for that 's quite the Chinese fashion ; and they all 
said, ' Oh ! ' and held up their forefingers and nodded. But 
the poor fisherman who had heard the real Nightingale, said, 

' It sounds pretty enough, and the melodies resemble 
each other, but there 's something wanting, though I know 
not what ! ' 

The real Nightingale was banished from the country and 
empire. The artificial bird had its place on a silken cushion 
close to the Emperor's bed ; all the presents it had received, 
gold and precious stones, were ranged about it ; in title 
it had advanced to be the High Imperial Night-Singer, 
and in rank to number one on the left hand ; for the 
Emj)eror considered that side the most important on which 
the heart is placed, and even in an Emperor the heart is 
on the left side ; and the playmaster wrote a work of five- 
and -twenty volumes about the artificial bird ; it was very 
learned and very long, full of the most difficult Chinese 
words ; but yet all the people declared that they had read 
it and understood it, for fear of being considered stupid, 
and having their bodies trampled on. 

So a whole year went by. The Emperor, the court, and 
all the other Chinese knew every little twitter in the 
artificial bird's song by heart. But just for that reason 
it pleased them best — they could sing with it themselves, 
and they did so. The street boys sang, ' Tsi-tsi-tsi-glug- 
glug ! ' and the Emperor himself sang it too. Yes, that was 
certainly famous. 

But one evening, when the artificial bird was singing 
its best, and the Emperor lay in bed listening to it, some- 
thing inside the bird said, ' Whizz ! ' Something cracked. 
' Whir-r-r ! ' All the wheels ran roimd, and then the music 

The Emperor immediately sprang out of bed, and caused 
his body physician to be called ; but what could he do ? 
Then they sent for a watchmaker, and after a good deal of 
talking and investigation, the bird was put into something 
like order ; but the watchmaker said that the bird must 


be carefully treated, for the barrels were worn, and it 
would be impossible to put new ones in in such a manner 
that the music would go. There was a great lamentation ; 
only once in a year was it permitted to let the bird sing, 
and that was almost too much. But then the playmaster 
made a little speech, full of hard words, and said this was just 
as good as before — and so of course it was as good as before. 

Now five years had gone by, and a real grief came upon 
the whole nation. The Chinese were really fond of their 
Emperor, and now he was ill, and could not, it was said, 
live much longer. Already a new Emperor had been chosen, 
and the people stood out in the street and asked the cavalier 
how their old Emperor did. 

' P ! ' said he, and shook his head. 

Cold and pale lay the Emperor in his great gorgeous bed ; 
the whole court thought him dead, and each one ran to 
pay homage to the new ruler. The chamberlains ran out 
to talk it over, and the ladies'-maids had a great coffee 
party. All about, in all the halls and passages, cloth had 
been laid down so that no footstep could be heard, and 
therefore it was quiet there, quite quiet. But the Emperor 
was not dead yet : stiff and pale he lay on the gorgeous 
bed with the long velvet curtains and the heavy gold tassels ; 
high up, a window stood open, and the moon shone in 
upon the Emperor and the artificial bird. 

The poor Emperor could scarcely breathe ; it was just 
as if something lay upon his chest : he opened his eyes, 
and then he saw that it was Death who sat upon his chest, 
and had put on his golden crown, and held in one hand 
the Emperor's sword, and in the other his beautiful banner. 
And all around, from among the folds of the splendid 
velvet curtains, strange heads peered forth ; a few very 
ugly, the rest quite lovely and mild. These were all the 
Emperor's bad and good deeds, that looked upon him now 
that Death sat upon his heart. 

' Do you remember this ? ' whispered one after the 
other, ' Do you remember that ? ' and then they told him 
so much that the perspiration ran from his forehead. 

' I did not know that ! ' said the Emperor. ' Music ! 
music ! the great Chinese drum ! ' he cried, ' so that 
I need not hear all they say ! ' 


And they continued speaking, and Death nodded like 
a Chinaman to all they said. 

' Music ! music ! ' cried the Emperor. ' You little 
precious golden bird, sing, sing ! I have given you gold 
and costly presents ; I have even hung my golden slipper 
around your neck — sing now, sing ! ' 

But the bird stood still ; no one was there to wind him 
up, and he could not sing without that; but Death continued 
to stare at the Emperor with his great hollow eyes, and it 
was quiet, fearfully quiet. 

Then there sounded from the window, suddenly, the 
most lovely song. It was the little live Nightingale, that 
sat outside on a spray. It had heard of the Emperor's 
sad plight, and had come to sing to him of comfort and 
hope. And as it sang the spectres grew paler and paler ; 
the blood ran quicker and more quickly through the 
Emperor's weak limbs ; and even Death listened, and said, 

'Go on, little Nightingale, go on ! ' 

' But will you give me that splendid golden sword ? 
Will you give me that rich banner ? Will you give me the 
Emperor's crown 1 ' 

And Death gave up each of these treasures for a song. 
And the Nightingale sang on and on ; and it sang of the 
quiet churchyard where the white roses grow, where the 
elder-blossom smells sweet, and where the fresh grass is 
moistened by thfe tears of— strFvivOrs. Then Death felt 
a longing to see his garden, and floated out at the window 
in the form of a cold white mist. 

' Thanks ! thanks ! ' said the Emperor. ' You heavenly 
little bird ! I know you well. I banished you from my 
country and empire, and yet you have charmed away the 
evil faces from my couch, and banished Death from my 
heart ! How can I reward you ? ' 

' You have rewarded me ! ' replied the Nightingale. 
' I have drawn tears from your eyes, when I sang the 
first time — I shall never forget that. Those are the jewels 
that rejoice a singer's heart. But now sleep and grow 
fresh and strong again. I will sing you something.' 

And it sang, and the Emperor fell into a sweet slumber. 
Ah ! how mild and refreshing that sleep was ! The sun 
shone upon him through the windows, when he awoke 


refreshed and restored : not one of his servants had yet 
returned, for they all thought he was dead ; only the 
Nightingale still sat beside him and sang. 

' You must always stay with me,' said the Emperor, 
' You shall sing as you please ; and I'll break the artificial 
bird into a thousand pieces.' 

' Not so,' replied the Nightingale. ' It did well as long 
as it could ; keep it as you have done till now. I cannot 
build my nest in the palace to dwell in it, but let me come 
when I feel the wish ; then I will sit in the evening on the 
spray yonder by the window, and sing you something, so 
that you may be glad and thoughtful at once. I will sing 
of those who are happy and of those who suffer. I will sing 
of the good and the evil that remains hidden round about 
you. The little singing bird flies far around, to the poor 
fisherman, to the peasant's roof, to every one who dwells far 
away from you and from your court. I love your heart 
more than your crown, and yet the crown has an air of 
sanctity about it. I will come and sing to you — but one 
thing you must promise me.' 

' Everything ! ' said the Emperor ; and he stood there 
in his imperial robes, which he had put on himself, and 
pressed the sword which was heavy with gold to his heart. 

' One thing I beg of you : tell no one that you have 
a httle bird who tells you everything. Then it will go 
all the better.' 

And the Nightingale flew away. 

The servants came in to look at their dead Emperor, 
and — yes, there they stood, and the Emperor said 'Good 
morning ! ' 


It was glorious out in the country. It was summer, and 
the cornfields were yellow, and the oats were green ; the 
hay had been put up in stacks in the green meadows, and 
the stork went about on his long red legs, and chattered 
Egyptian, for this language he had learned from his mother. 
All around the fields and meadows were great forests, and 
in the midst of these forests lay deep lakes. Yes, it was 


really glorious out in the country. In the midst of the 
sunshine there lay an old manor, surrounded by deep 
canals, and from the wall down to the water grew great 
burdocks, so high that little children could stand upright 
under the loftiest of them. It was just as wild there as 
in the deepest wood. Here sat a Duck upon her nest, for 
she had to hatch her young ones ; but she was almost 
tired out before the little ones came ; and then she so 
seldom had visitors. The other ducks liked better to swim 
about in the canals than to run up to sit down under 
a burdock, and gossip with her. 

At last one egg-shell after another burst open. ' Piep ! 
piep ! ' it cried, and in all the eggs there were little creatures 
that stuck out their heads. 

' Rap ! rap ! ' she said ; and they all came rapping 
out as fast as they could, looking all round them under 
the green leaves ; and the mother let them look as much 
as they chose, for green is good for the eyes. 

' How wide the world is ! ' said the young ones, for they 
certainly had much more room now than when they were 
in the eggs. 

Do you think this is all the world ? ' asked the mother. 
' That extends far across the other side of the garden, 
quite into the parson's field, but I have never been there 
yet. I hope you are all together,' she continued, and stood 
up. ' No, I have not all. The largest egg still lies there. 
How long is that to last ? I am really tired of it.' And 
she sat down again. 

' Well, how goes it ? ' asked an old Duck who had come 
to pay her a visit. 

' It lasts a long time with that one egg,' said the Duck 
who sat there. ' It will not burst. Now, only look at the 
others ; are they not the prettiest ducklings one could 
possibly see ? They are all like their father : the bad 
fellow never comes to see me.' 

' Let me see the egg which will not burst,' said the old 
visitor. ' Believe me, it is a turkey's egg. I was once 
cheated in that way, and had much anxiety and trouble 
with the young ones, for they are afraid of the water. 
I could not get them to venture in. I quacked and clucked, 
but it was no use. Let me see the egg. Yes, that 's a 


turkey's egg ! Let it lie there, and teach the other children 
to swim.' 

' I think I will sit on it a little longer,' said the Duck. 
'I've sat so long now that I can sit a few days more.' 

' Just as you please,' said the old Duck ; and she went 

At last the great egg burst. ' Piep ! piep ! ' said the 
little one, and crept forth. It was very large and very 
ugly. The Duck looked at it. 

' It 's a very large duckling,' said she ; ' none of the others 
look like that : can it really be a turkey chick ? Now we 
shall soon find it out. It must go into the water, even if 
I have to kick it in myself.' 

The next day the weather was splendidly bright, and the 
sun shone on all the green burdocks. The Mother-Duck 
went down to the water with all her little ones. Splash, 
she jumped into the water. ' Quack ! quack 1 ' she said, 
and one duckling after another plunged in. The water 
closed over their heads, but they came up in an instant, 
and swam capitally ; their legs went of themselves, and 
there they were all in the water. The ugly grey Duckling 
swam with them. 

' No, it 's not a turkey,' said she ; ' look how well it can 
use its legs, and how upright it holds itself. It is my own 
child ! On the whole it 's quite pretty, if one looks at it 
rightly. Quack 1 quack ! come with me, and I'll lead you 
out into the great world, and present you in the poultry- 
yard ; but keep close to me, so that no one may tread on 
you, and take care of the cat ! ' 

And so they came into the poultry-yard. There was 
a terrible riot going on there, for two families were quarrel- 
ling about an eel's head, and the cat got it after all. 

' See, that 's how it goes in the world ! ' said the Mother- 
Duck ; and she whetted her beak, for she, too, wanted the 
eel's head. ' Only use your legs,' she said. ' See that you 
can bustle about, and bow your heads before the old Duck 
yonder. She 's the grandest of all here ; she 's of Spanish 
blood — that 's why she 's so fat ; and do you see, she has 
a red rag round her leg ; that 's something particularly fine, 
and the greatest distinction a duck can enjoy : it signifies 
that one does not want to lose her, and that she 's to be 


recognized by man and beast. Shake yourselves — don't 
turn in your toes ; a well-brought-up duck turns its toes 
quite out, just like father and mother, so ! Now bend your 
necks and say " Rap ! " ' 

And they did so ; but the other ducks round about 
looked at them, and said quite boldly, 

' Look there ! now we're to have these hanging on as if 
there were not enough of us already ! And — fie ! — how 
that Duckling yonder looks ; we won't stand him ! ' And 
one duck flew up immediately, and bit it in the neck. 

' Let it alone,' said the mother ; * it does no harm to 
any one.' 

' Yes, but it 's too large and peculiar,' said the Duck 
who had bitten it ; ' and therefore it must be buffeted.' 

' Those are pretty children that the mother has there,' 
said the old Duck with the rag round her leg. ' They're 
all pretty but that one ; that was a failure. I wish she 
could alter it.' 

' That cannot be done, my lady,' replied the Mother- 
Duck : ' it is not pretty, but it has a really good disposition, 
and swims as well as any other ; I may even say it swims 
better. I think it will grow up pretty, and become smaller 
in time ; it has lain too long in the egg, and therefore is 
not properly shaped.' And then she pinched it in the neck, 
and smoothed its feathers. * Moreover, it is a drake,' she 
said, ' and therefore it is not of so much consequence. 
I think he will be very strong : he will make his way all 

' The other ducklings are graceful enough,' said the old 
Duck. ' Make yourself at home ; and if you find an eel's 
•head, you may bring it me.' 

And now they were at home. But the poor Duckling 
which had crept last out of the egg, and looked so ugly, was 
bitten and pushed and jeered at, as much by the ducks as 
by the chickens. 

' It is too big ! ' they all said. And the turkey-cock, who 
had been born with spurs, and therefore thought himself 
an emperor, blew himseK up like a ship in full sail, and 
bore straight down upon it ; then he gobbled, and grew 
quite red in the face. The poor Duckling did not know 
Vv^here it should stand or walk ; it was quite melancholy 


because it looked ugly, and was scoffed at by the whole 

So it went on the first day ; and afterwards it became 
worse and worse. The poor Duckling was hunted about by 
every one ; even its brothers and sisters were quite angry 
with it, and said, ' If the cat would only catch you, you 
ugly creature ! ' And the mother said, ' If you were only 
far away ! ' And the ducks bit it, and the chickens beat 
it, and the girl who had to feed the poultry kicked at it 
with her foot. 

Then it ran and flew over the fence, and the little birds 
in the bushes flew up in fear. 

' That is because I am so ugly ! ' thought the Duckling ; 
and it shut its eyes, but flew on farther ; thus it came 
out into the great moor, where the wild ducks lived. 
Here it lay the whole night long ; and it was weary and 

Towards morning the wild ducks flew up, and looked at 
their new companion. 

' What sort of a one are you ? ' they asked ; and the 
Duckling turned in every direction, and bowed as well as 
it could. ' You are remarkably ugly ! ' said the Wild 
Ducks. ' But that is very indifferent to us, so long as you 
do not marry into our family.' 

Poor thing ! it certainly did not think of marrying, and 
only hoped to obtain leave to lie among the reeds and drink 
some of the swamp water. 

Thus it lay two whole days ; then came thither two 
wild geese, or, properly speaking, two wild ganders. It was 
not long since each had crept out of an egg, and that 's 
why they were so saucy. 

' Listen, comrade,' said one of them. ' You're so ugly that 
I like you. Will you go with us, and become a bird of 
passage ? Near here, in another moor, there are a few 
sweet lovely wild geese, all unmarried, and all able to say 
" Rap ! " You've a chance of making your fortune, ugly 
as you are ! ' 

' Piff ! paff ! ' resounded through the air ; and the two 
ganders fell down dead in the swamp, and the water became 
blood-red. ' Piff ! paff ! ' it sounded again, and whole 
flocks of wild geese rose up from the reeds. And then there 


was another report. A great hunt was going on. The 
hunters were lying in wait all round the moor, and some 
were even sitting up in the branches of the trees, which 
spread far over the reeds. The blue smoke rose up like 
clouds among the dark trees, and was wafted far away 
across the water ; and the hunting dogs came — splash, 
splash ! — into the swamp, and the rushes and the reeds 
bent down on every side. That was a fright for the poor 
Duckling ! It turned its head, and put it under its wing ; 
but at that moment a frightful great dog stood close by 
the Duckling. His tongue hung far out of his mouth and 
his eyes gleamed horrible and ugly ; he thrust out his nose 
close against the Duckling, showed his sharp teeth, and — 
splash, splash ! — on he went, without seizing it. 

' Oh, Heaven be thanked ! ' sighed the Duckling. ' I am 
so ugly, that even the dog does not like to bite me ! ' 

And so it lay quite quiet, while the shots rattled through 
the reeds and gun after gun was fired. At last, late in the 
day, silence was restored ; but the poor Duckling did not 
dare to rise up ; it waited several hours before it looked 
round, and then hastened away out of the marsh as fast 
as it could. It ran on over field and meadow ; there was 
such a storm raging that it was difficult to get from one 
place to another. 

Towards evening the Duck came to a little miserable 
peasant's hut. This hut was so dilapidated that it did not 
know on which side it should fall ; and that 's why it 
remained standing. The storm whistled round the Duckling 
in such a way that the poor creature was obliged to sit 
down, to resist it ; and the tempest grew worse and worse. 
Then the Duckling noticed that one of the hinges of the 
door had given way, and the door hung so slanting that 
the Duckling could slip through the opening into the room ; 
and it did so. 

Here lived an old woman, with her Tom Cat and her 
Hen. And the Tom Cat, whom she called Sonnie, could 
arch his back and purr, he could even give out sparks ; 
but for that one had to stroke his fur the wrong way. 
The Hen had quite little short legs, and therefore she was 
called Chickabiddy-shortshanks ; she laid good eggs, and 
the woman loved her as her own child. 



In the morning the strange Duckhng was at once noticed, 
and the Tom Cat began to purr, and the Hen to cluck. 

' What 's this ? ' said the woman, and looked all round ; 
but she could not see well, and therefore she thought the 
Duckling was a fat duck that had strayed. * This is a rare 


prize ! ' she said. ' Now I shall have duck's eggs. I hope 
it is not a drake. We must try that.' 

And so the Duckling was admitted on trial for three 
weeks ; but no eggs came. And the Tom Cat was master 
of the house, and the Hen was the lady, and always said 
' We and the world ! ' for they thought they were half the 
world, and by far the better half. The Duckling thought 
one might have a different opinion, but the Hen would not 
allow it. 

' Can you lay eggs ? ' she asked. 


' Then you'll have the goodness to hold your tongue.' 

And the Tom Cat said, ' Can you curve your back, and 
purr, and give out sparks ? ' 


' Then you cannot have any opinion of your own when 
sensible people are speaking.' 

And the Duckling sat in a corner and was melancholy ; 
then the fresh air and the sunshine streamed in ; and it 
was seized with such a strange longing to swim on the water, 
that it could not help telling the Hen of it. 

' What are you thinking of ? ' cried the Hen. * You 
have nothing to do, that 's why you have these fancies. 
Purr or lay eggs, and they will pass over.' 

' But it is so charming to swim on the water ! ' said the 
Duckling, " so refreshing to let it close above one's head, 
and to dive down to the bottom.' 

' Yes, that must be a mighty pleasure truly,' quoth the 
Hen. ' I fancy you must have gone crazy. Ask the Cat 
about it, — he 's the cleverest animal I know, — ask him if 
he likes to swim on the water, or to dive down : I won't 
speak about myself. Ask our mistress, the old woman; 
no one in the world is cleverer than she. Do you think 
she has any desire to swim, and to let the water close above 
her head ? ' 

' You don't understand me,' said the Duckling. 

' We don't understand you ? Then pray who is to under- 
stand you ? You surely don't pretend to be cleverer than 
the Tom Cat and the woman — I won't say anything of 
myself. Don't be conceited, child, and be grateful for all 
the kindness you have received. Did you not get into 


a warm room, and have you not fallen into company from 
which you may learn something ? But you are a chatterer, 
and it is not pleasant to associate with you. You may 
believe me, I speak for your good. I tell you disagreeable 
things, and by that one may always know one's true friends ! 
Only take care that you learn to lay eggs, or to purr and 
give out sparks ! ' 

' I think I will go out into the wide world,' said the 

' Yes, do go,' replied the Hen. 

And the Duckling went away. It swam on the water, 
and dived, but it was slighted by every creature because of 
its ugliness. 

Now came the autumn. The leaves in the forest turned 
yellow and brown ; the wind caught them so that they 
danced about, and up in the air it was very cold. The 
clouds hung low, heavy with hail and snow-flakes, and on 
the fence stood the raven, crying, ' Croak ! croak ! ' for 
mere cold ; yes, it was enough to make one feel cold to 
think of this. The poor little Duckhng certainly had not 
a good time. One evening — the sun was just setting in 
his beauty — there came a whole flock of great handsome 
birds out of the bushes ; the duckling had never before 
seen anything so beautiful ; they were dazzlingly white, 
with long flexible necks ; they were swans. They uttered 
a very peculiar cry, spread forth their glorious great wings, 
and flew away from that cold region to warmer lands, to 
open lakes. They mounted so high, so high ! and the ugly 
little Duckling felt quite strangely as it watched them. It 
turned round and round in the water like a wheel, stretched 
out its neck towards them, and muttered such a strange 
loud cry as frightened itself. Oh ! it could not forget those 
beautiful, happy birds ; and so soon as it could see them 
no longer, it dived down to the very bottom, and when it 
came up again, it was quite beside itself. It kncAv not the 
name of those birds, and knew not whither they were 
flying ; but it loved them more than it had ever loved 
any one. It was not at all envious of them. How could it 
think of wishing to possess such loveliness as they had ? 
It would have been glad if only the ducks would have 
endured its company — the poor ugly creature ! 


And the winter grew cold, very cold ! The Duckling- 
was forced to swim about in the water, to prevent the 
surface from freezing entirely ; but every night the hole 
in which it swam about became smaller and smaller. It 
froze so hard that the icy covering crackled again ; and the 
Duckling was obliged to use its legs continually to prevent 
the hole from freezing up. At last it become exhausted, 
and lay quite still, and thus froze fast into the ice. 

Early in the morning a peasant came by, and when he 
saw what had happened, he took his wooden shoe, broke 
the ice-crust to pieces, and carried the Duckling home to 
his wife. Then it came to itself again. The children wanted 
to play with it ; but the Duckling thought they would do 
it an injury, and in its terror fluttered up into the milk -pan, 
so that the milk spurted down into the room. The woman 
screamed and clapped her hands, at which the Duckling 
flew down into the butter-tub, and then into the meal-barrel 
and out again. How it looked then 1 The woman screamed, 
and struck at it with the fire-tongs ; the children tumbled 
over one another, in their efforts to catch the Duckling ; 
and they laughed and screamed finely ! Happily the door 
stood open, and the poor creature was able to slip out 
between the shrubs into the newly -fallen snow ; and there 
it lay quite exhausted. 

But it would be too melancholy if I were to tell all the 
misery and care which the Duckling had to endure in the 
hard winter. It lay out on the swamp among the reeds, 
when the sun began to shine again and the larks to sing : 
it was a beautiful spring. 

Then all at once the Duckling raised its wings : they 
beat the air more strongly than before, and bore it strongly 
away ; and before it well knew how all this happened, it 
found itself in a great garden, where the apple trees stood 
in blossom, where the lilac flowers smelt sweet, and hung 
their long green branches down to the winding canals. 
Oh, here it was so beautiful, such a gladness of spring ! 
and from the thicket came three glorious white swans ; 
they rustled their wings, and swam lightly on the water. 
The Duckling knew the splendid creatures, and felt 
oppressed by a peculiar sadness. 

' I will fly away to them, to the royal birds ! and they 



will kill me, because I, that am so ugly, dare to approach 
them. But it is of no consequence ! Better to be killed 
by them than to be pursued by ducks, and beaten by fowls, 
and pushed about by the girl who takes care of the poultry- 
yard, and to suffer hunger in winter ! ' And it flew out 
into the water, and swam towards the beautiful swans : 
these looked at it, and came sailing down upon it with 
outspread wings. ' Kill me ! ' said the poor creature, and 
bent its head down upon the water, expecting nothing 
but death. But what was this that it saw in the clear 


water ? It beheld its own image ; and, lo ! it was no 
longer a clumsy dark grey bird, ugly and hateful to look 
at, but — a swan ! 

It matters nothing if one is born in a duck-yard, if one 
has only lain in a swan's egg. 

It felt quite glad at all the need and misfortune it had 
suffered, now it realized its happiness and all the splendour 
that surrounded it. And the great swans swam round it, 
and stroked it with their beaks. 

Into the garden came little children, who threw bread 
and corn into the water ; and the youngest cried, ' There 
is a new one ! ' and the other children shouted joyously, 
' Yes, a new one has arrived ! ' And they clapped their 
hands and danced about, and ran to their father and 


mother ; and bread and cake were thrown into the water ; 
and they all said, ' The new one is the most beautiful of 
all ! so young and handsome ! ' and the old swans bowed 
their heads before him. 

Then he felt quite ashamed, and hid his head under his 
wings, for he did not know what to do ; he was so happy, 
and yet not at all proud. He thought how he had been 
persecuted and despised ; and now he heard them saying 
that he was the most beautiful of all birds. Even the 
elder-tree bent its branches straight down into the water 
before him, and the sun shone warm and mild. Then his 
wings rustled, he lifted his slender neck, and cried rejoicingly 
from the depths of his heart, 

' I never dreamed of so much happiness when I was still 
the ugly Duckling ! ' 


Out in the forest stood a pretty little Fir Tree. It had 
a good place ; it could have sunlight, air there was in plenty, 
and all around grew many larger comrades — pines as well 
as Ik's. But the little Fir Tree was in such a hurry to grow. 
It did not care for the warm sun and the fresh air ; it took 
no notice of the peasant children, who went about talking 
together, when they had come out to look for strawberries 
and raspberries. Often they came with a whole pot-full, 
or had strung berries on a straw ; then they would sit 
down by the little Fir Tree and say, * How pretty and small 
that one is ! ' and the Tree did not like to hear that at all. 

Next year it had grown a great joint, and the following 
year it was longer still, for in fir trees one can always tell 
by the number of joints they have how many years they 
have been growing. 

* Oh, if I were only as great a tree as the others ! ' sighed 
the little Fir, ' then I would spread my branches far around, 
and look out from my crown into the wide world. The 
birds would then build nests in my boughs, and when the 
wind blew I could nod just as grandly as the others 


It took no pleasure in the sunshine, in the birds, and in 
the red clouds that went sailing over it morning and 

When it was winter, and the snow lay all around, white 
and sparkling, a hare would often come jumping along, 
and spring right over the little Fir Tree. Oh ! tins made 
it so angry. But two winters went by, and when the 
third came the little Tree had grown so tall that the hare 
was obliged to run round it. 

' Oh ! to grow, to grow, and become old ; that 's the 
only fine thing in the world,' thought the Tree. 

In the autumn woodcutters always came and felled a few 
of the largest trees ; that happened every year, and the 
little Fir Tree, that was now quite well grown, shuddered 
with fear, for the great stately trees fell to the ground 
with a crash, and their branches were cut off, so that the 
trees looked quite naked, long, and slender — they could 
hardly be recognized. But then they were laid upon 
wagons, and horses dragged them away out of the wood. 
Where were they going ? What destiny awaited them ? 

In the spring, when the Swallows and the Stork came, the 
Tree asked them, ' Do you know where they were taken ? 
Did you not meet them ? ' 

The Swallows knew nothing about it, but the Stork 
looked thoughtful, nodded his head, and said, 

' Yes, I think so. I met many new ships when I flew 
out of Egypt ; on the ships were stately masts ; I fancy 
that these were the trees. They smelt like fir. I can assure 
you they're stately — very stately.' 

' Oh that I were only big enough to go over the sea ! 
What kind of thing is this sea, and how does it look ? ' 

' It would take too long to explain all that,' said the 
Stork, and he went away. 

' Rejoice in thy youth,' said the Sunbeams ; ' rejoice in 
thy fresh growth, and in the young life that is within thee.' 

And the wind kissed the Tree, and the dew wept tears 
upon it ; but the Fir Tree did not understand that. 

When Christmas -time approached, quite young trees were 
felled, sometimes trees which were neither so old nor so 
large as this Fir Tree, that never rested but always wanted 
to go away. These young trees, which were just the most 


beautiful, kept all their branches ; they were put upon 
wagons, and horses dragged them away out of the wood. 

' Where are they all going ? ' asked the Fir Tree. ' They 
are not greater than I — indeed, one of them was much 
smaller. Why do they keep all their branches ? Whither 
are they taken ? ' 

' We know that ! We know that ! ' chirped the Sparrows. 
* Yonder in the town we looked in at the windows. We 
know where they go. Oh ! they are dressed up in the 
greatest pomp and splendour that can be imagined. We 
have looked in at the windows, and have perceived that 
they are planted in the middle of the warm room, and 
adorned with the most beautiful things — gilt apples, honey- 
cakes, playthings, and many hundreds of candles.' 

' And then ? ' asked the Fir Tree, and trembled through 
all its branches. ' And then ? What happens then ? ' 

' Why, we have not seen anj^thing more. But it was 

' Perhaps I may be destined to tread this glorious path 
one day ! ' cried the Fir Tree rejoicingly. ' That is even 
better than travelling across the sea. How painfully I long 
for it ! If it were only Christmas now ! Now I am great 
and grown up, like the rest who were led away last year. 
Oh, if I were only on the carriage ! If I were only in the 
warm room, among all the pomp and splendour ! And 
then ? Yes, then something even better will come, some- 
thing far more charming, or else why should they adorn 
me so ? There must be something grander, something 
greater still to come but what ? Oh ! I'm suffering, 
I'm longing ! I don't know myself what is the matter 
with me ! ' 

' Rejoice in us,' said Air and Sunshine. ' Rejoice in thy 
fresh youth here in the woodland.' 

But the Fir Tree did not rejoice at all, but it grew and 
grew ; winter and summer it stood there, green, dark green. 
The people who saw it said, ' That 's a handsome tree ! ' 
and at Christmas -time it was felled before any one of the 
others. The axe cut deep into its marrow, and the Tree 
fell to the ground with a sigh : it felt a pain, a sensation 
of faintness, and could not think at all of happiness, for 
it was sad at parting from its home, from the place where 


it had grown up : it knew that it should never again see 
the dear old companions, the little bushes and flowers 
all around — perhaps not even the birds. The parting was 
not at all agreeable. 

The Tree only came to itself when it was unloaded in 
a yard, with other trees, and heard a man say, 

' This one is famous ; we only want this one ! ' 

Now two servants came in gay liveries, and carried the 
Fir Tree into a large beautiful saloon. All around the walls 
hung pictures, and by the great stove stood large Chinese 
vases with lions on the covers ; there were rocking-chairs, 
silken sofas, great tables covered with picture-books, and 
toys worth a hundred times a hundred dollars, at least the 
children said so. And the Fir Tree was put into a great 
tub filled with sand ; but no one could see that it was a tub, 
for it was hung round with green cloth, and stood on a large 
many-coloured carpet. Oh, how the Tree trembled ! 
What was to happen now ? The servants, and the young 
ladies also, decked it out. On one branch they hung little 
nets, cut out of coloured paper ; every net was filled with 
sweetmeats ; golden apples and walnuts hung down as 
if they grew there, and more than a hundred little candles, 
red, white, and blue, were fastened to the different boughs. 
Dolls that looked exactly like real people — the Tree had 
never seen such before — swung among the foliage, and high 
on the summit of the Tree was fixed a tinsel star. It was 
splendid, particularly splendid. 

' This evening,' said all, ' this evening it will shine.' 

'Oh,' thought the Tree, ' that it were evening already ! 
Oh that the lights may be soon lit up ! What will happen 
then ? I wonder if trees will come out of the forest to look 
at me ? Will the sparrows fly against the panes ? Shall 
I grow fast here, and stand adorned in summer and 
winter ? ' 

Yes, it knew all about it. But it had a regular bark-ache 
from mere longing, and the bark-ache is just as bad for 
a Tree as the headache for a person. 

At last the candles were lighted. What a brilliance, what 
splendour ! The Tree trembled so in all its branches that 
one of the candles set fire to a green twig, and it was really 



' Heaven preserve us ! ' cried the young ladies ; and they 
hastily put the fire out. 

Now the Tree might not even tremble. Oh, that was 


terrible ! It was so afraid of losing any of its ornaments, 
and it was quite bewildered with all the brilliance. And 
now the folding doors were thrown open, and a number 
of children rushed in as if they would have overturned the 
whole Tree ; the older people followed more deliberately. 
The little ones stood quite silent, but only for a minute ; 


then they shouted till the room rang : they danced gleefully 
round the Tree, and one present after another was plucked 
from it. 

' What are they about ? ' thought the Tree. ' What 's 
going to be done ? ' 

And the candles burned down to the twigs, and as they 
burned down they were extinguished, and then the children 
received permission to plunder the Tree. Oh ! they rushed 
in upon it, so that every branch cracked again : if it had 
not been fastened by the top and by the golden star to 
the ceiling, it would have fallen down. 

The children danced about with their pretty toys. No 
one looked at the Tree except the old nursemaid, who came 
up and peeped among the branches, but only to see if 
a fig or an apple had not been forgotten. 

' A story ! a story ! ' shouted the children : and they 
drew a little fat man towards the Tree ; and he sat down 
just beneath it, — ' for then we shall be in the green wood,' 
said he, ' and the tree may have the advantage of listening 
to my tale. But I can only tell one. Will you hear the 
story of Ivede-Avede, or of Humpty-Dumpty, who fell 
downstairs, and still was raised up to honour and married 
the Princess ? ' 

' Ivede-Avede ! ' cried some, ' Humpty-Dumpty ! ' cried 
others, and there was a great crying and shouting. Only the 
Fir Tree was quite silent, and thought, ' Shall I not be in it ? 
shall I have nothing to do in it ? ' But it had been in the 
evening's amusement, and had done what was required 
of it. 

And the fat man told about Humpty-Dumpty, who fell 
downstairs, and yet was raised to honour and married the 
Princess. And the children clapped their hands, and cried, 
' Tell another ! tell another ! ' for they wanted to hear 
about Ivede-Avede ; but they only got the story of Humpty- 
Dumpty. The Fir Tree stood quite silent and thoughtful ; 
never had the birds in the wood told such a story as that. 
Humpty-Dumpty fell downstairs, and yet came to honour 
and married the Princess ! 

' Yes, so it happens in the world ! ' thought the Fir Tree, 
and believed it must be true, because that was such a nice 
man who told it. ' Well, who can know ? Perhaps I shall 


fall downstairs too, and marry a Princess ! ' And it looked 
forward with pleasure to being adorned again, the next 
evening, with candles and toys, gold and fruit. ' To-morrow 
I shall not tremble,' it thought. ' I will rejoice in all my 
splendour. To-morrow I shall hear the story of Humpty- 
Dumpty again, and, perhaps, that of Ivede-Avede too.' 

And the Tree stood all night quiet and thoughtful. 

In the morning the servants and the chambermaid 
came in. 

' Now my splendour will begin afresh,' thought the Tree. 
But they dragged it out of the room, and upstairs to the 
garret, and here they put it in a dark corner where no 
daylight shone. 

* What 's the meaning of this ? ' thought the Tree. * What 
am I to do here ? What am I to get to know here ? ' 

And he leaned against the wall, and thought, and thought. 
And he had time enough, for days and nights went by, and 
nobody came up ; and when at length some one came, it 
was only to put some great boxes in a corner. Now the 
Tree stood quite hidden away, and one would think that 
it was quite forgotten. 

' Now it 's winter outside,' thought the Tree. ' The earth 
is hard and covered with snow, and people cannot plant 
me ; therefore I suppose I'm to be sheltered here until 
spring comes. How considerate that is ! How good 
people are ! If it were only not so dark here, and so terribly 
sohtary ! — not even a little hare ! It was pretty out 
there in the wood, when the snow lay thick and the hare 
sprang past ; yes, even when he jumped over me, although 
I did not like that at the time. It is terribly lonely up here ! ' 

' Piep ! piep ! ' said a little Mouse, and crept forward, 
and then came another little one. They smelt at the 
Fir Tree, and then slipped among the branches. 

' It 's horribly cold,' said the two httle Mice, ' or else 
it would be comfortable here. Don't you think so, you old 
Fir Tree ? ' 

' I'm not old at all,' said the Fir Tree. ' There are many 
much older than I.' 

' Where do you come from ? ' asked the Mice. ' And 
what do you know ? ' They were dreadfully inquisitive. 
' Tell us about the most beautiful spot on earth. Have 

AND. F. T. J 


you been there ? Have you been in the store-room, where 
cheeses lie on the shelves, and hams hang from the ceiling, 
where one dances on tallow candles, and goes in thin and 
comes out fat ? ' 

' I don't know that ! ' replied the Tree ; ' but I laiow the 
wood, where the sun shines, and where the birds sing.' 

And then it told all about its youth. 

And the little Mice had never heard anything of the kind ; 
and they listened and said, 

' What a number of things you have seen ! How happy 
you must have been ! ' 

' I ? ' said the Fir Tree ; and it thought about what it 
had told. ' Yes, those were really quite happy times.' 
But then it told of the Christmas-eve, when it had been 
hung with sweetmeats and candles. 

' Oh ! ' said the little Mice, ' how happy you have been, 
you old Fir Tree ! ' 

' I'm not old at all,' said the Tree. ' I only came out of 
the wood this winter. I'm in my very best years.' 

' What splendid stories you can tell ! ' said the little Mice. 

And next night they came with four other little Mice, 
to hear what the Tree had to relate ; and the more it said, 
the more clearly did it remember everything, and thought, 
' Those were quite merry days ! But they may come 
again. Humpty-Dumpty fell downstairs, and yet he 
married the Princess. Perhaps I may marry a Princess 
too ! ' And then the Fir Tree thought of a pretty little 
birch tree that grew out in the forest : for the Fir Tree, 
that birch was a real Princess. 

' Who 's Humpty-Dumpty ? ' asked the little Mice. 

And then the Fir Tree told the whole story. It could 
remember every single word ; and the little Mice were ready 
to leap to the very top of the tree with pleasure. Next 
night a great many more Mice came, and on Sunday 
two Rats even appeared ; but these thought the story was 
not pretty, and the little Mice were sorry for that, for now 
they also did not like it so much as before. 

' Do you only know one story ? ' asked the Rats. 

' Only that one,' replied the Tree. ' I heard that on the 
happiest evening of my life ; I did not think then how 
happy I was.' 


* That 's an exceedingly poor story. Don't you know 
any about bacon and tallow candles — a store-room story 1 ' 

' No/ said the Tree. 

' Then we'd rather not hear you,' said the Rats. 

And they went back to their own people. The little 
Mice at last stayed away also ; and then the Tree sighed 
and said, 

' It was very nice when they sat round me, the merry 
little Mice, and listened when I spoke to them. Now that 's 
past too. But I shall remember to be pleased when they 
take me out.' 

But when did that happen ? Why, it was one morning 
that people came and rummaged in the garret : the boxes 
were put away, and the Tree brought out ; they certainly 
threw it rather roughly on the floor, but a servant 
dragged it away at once to the stairs, where the daylight 

' Now life is beginning again ! ' thought the Tree. 

It felt the fresh air and the first sunbeams, and now it 
was out in the courtyard. Everything passed so quickly 
that the Tree quite forgot to look at itself, there was so 
much to look at all round. The courtyard was close to a 
garden, and here everything was blooming ; the roses hung 
fresh and fragrant over the little paling, the linden trees 
were in blossom, and the swallows cried, ' Quirre-virre-vit ! 
my husband 's come ! ' But it was not the Fir Tree that 
they meant. 

' Now I shall live ! ' said the Tree, rejoicingly, and spread 
its branches far out ; but, alas ! they were all withered 
and yellow ; and it lay in the corner among nettles and 
weeds. The tinsel star was still upon it, and shone in the 
bright sunshine. 

In the courtyard a couple of the merry children were 
playing, who had danced round the tree at Christmas-time, 
and had rejoiced over it. One of the youngest ran up and 
tore off the golden star. 

' Look what is sticking to the ugly old fir tree,' said the 
child, and he trod upon the branches till they cracked 
again under his boots. 

And the Tree looked at all the blooming flowers and the 
splendour of the garden, and then looked at itself, and 


wished it had remained in the dark corner of the garret ; 
it thought of its fresh youth in the wood, of the merry 
Christmas-eve, and of the Httle Mice which had hstened so 
pleasantly to the story of Humpty-Dumpty. 

' Past ! past ! ' said the poor Tree. ' Had I but rejoiced 
when I could have done so ! Past ! past ! ' 

And the servant came and chopped the Tree into little 
pieces ; a whole bundle lay there : it blazed brightly under 
the great brewing copper, and it sighed deeply, and each 
sigh was like a little shot : and the children who were 
at play there ran up and seated themselves at the fire, 
looked into it, and cried, ' Puff ! puff ! ' But at each 
explosion, which was a deep sigh, the tree thought of a 
summer day in the woods, or of a winter night there, when 
the stars beamed ; it thought of Christmas -eve and of 
Humpty-Dumpty, the only story it had ever heard or 
knew how to tell ; and then the Tree was burned. 

The boys played in the garden, and the yormgest had 
on his breast a golden star, which the Tree had worn on 
its happiest evening. Now that was past, and the Tree's 
life was past, and the story is past too : past ! past ! — 
and that 's the way with all stories. 




Which treats of the Mirror and Fragments 

Look you, now we're going to begin. When we are at 
the end of the story we shall know more than we do now, 
for he was a bad goblin. He was one of the very worst, 
for he was the devil himself. One day he was in very 
high spirits, for he had made a mirror which had this pecu- 
liarity, that everything good and beautiful that was 
reflected in it shrank together into almost nothing, but 
that whatever was worthless and looked ugly became 
prominent and looked worse than ever. The most lovely 


landscapes seen in this mirror looked like boiled spinach, 
a,nd the best people became hideous, or stood on their 
heads and had no stomachs ; their faces were so distorted 
as to be unrecognizable, and a single freckle was sho\vTi 
spread out over nose and mouth. That was very amusing, 
the devil said. When a good pious thought passed through 
any person's mind, there came a grin in the mirror, so that 
the devil chuckled at his artistic invention. Those who 
went to the goblin school — for he kept a goblin school — 
declared everywhere that a wonder had been wrought. 
For now, they asserted, one could see, for the first time, 
how the world and the people in it really looked. They 
ran about with the mirror, and at last there was not a single 
country or person that had not been distorted in it. Now 
they wanted to fly up to heaven, to sneer and scoff at the 
angels themselves. The higher they flew with the mirror, 
the more it grinned ; they could scarcely hold it fast. 
They flew higher and higher, and then the mirror trembled 
so terribly amid its grinning that it fell down out of their 
hands to the earth, where it was shattered into a hundred 
milhon million and more fragments. And now this mirror 
occasioned much more unhappiness than before ; for some 
of the fragments were scarcely so large as a barleycorn, 
and these flew about in the world, and whenever they 
flew into any one's eye they stuck there, and those people 
saw everything wrongl}^ or had only eyes for the bad side 
of a thing, for every little fragment of the mirror had 
retained the same power which the whole glass possessed. 
A few persons even got a fragment of the mirror into 
their hearts, and that was terrible indeed, for such a heart 
became a block of ice. A few fragments of the mirror 
were so large that they were used as window-panes, but it 
was a bad thing to look at one's friends through these 
panes ; other pieces were made into spectacles, and then 
it went badly when people put on these spectacles to see 
rightly and to be just ; and the demon laughed till his 
paunch shook, for it tickled him so. But without, some 
little fragments of glass still floated about in the air — and 
now we shall hear. 



A Little Boy and a Little Gibl 

In the great town, where there are many houses and so 
many people that there is not room enough for every one 
to have a little garden, and where consequently most persons 
are compelled to be content with some flowers in flower- 
pots, were two poor children who possessed a garden 
somewhat larger than a flower-pot. They were not brother 
and sister, but they loved each other quite as much as 
if they had been. Their parents lived just opposite each 
other in two garrets, there where the roof of one neighbour's 
house joined that of another ; and where the water-pipe 
ran between the two houses was a little window ; one had 
only to step across the pipe to get from one window to the 

The parents of each child had a great box, in which 
grew kitchen herbs that they used, and a little rose bush ; 
there was one in each box, and they grew famously, Now, 
it occurred to the parents to place the boxes across the pipe, 
so that they reached from one window to another, and 
looked quite like two embankments of flowers. Pea plants 
hung down over the boxes, and the rose bushes shot forth 
long twigs, which clustered round the windows and bent 
down towards each other : it was almost like a triumphal 
arch of flowers and leaves. As the boxes were very high, 
and the children knew that they might not creep upon them, 
they often obtained permission to step out upon the roof 
behind the boxes, and to sit upon their little stools under 
the roses, and there they could play capitally. 

In the winter there was an end of this amusement. The 
windows were sometimes quite frozen all over. But then 
they warmed copper farthings on the stove, and held 
the warm coins against the frozen pane ; and this made 
a capital peep-hole, so round, so round ! and behind it 
gleamed a pretty, mild eye at each window ; and these eyes 
belonged to the little boy and the little girl. His name 
was Kay and the little girl's was Gerda. 

In the summer they could get to one another at one 


bound ; but in the winter they had to go down and up 
the long staircase, while the snow was pelting without. 

' Those are the white bees swarming,' said the old 

* Have they a Queen-bee ? ' asked the little boy. For 
he knew that there is one among the real bees. 

' Yes, they have one,' replied grandmamma. She always 
flies where they swarm thickest. She is the largest of them 
all, and never remains quiet upon the earth ; she flies 
up again into the black cloud. Many a midnight she is 
flying through the streets of the town, and looks in at the 
windows, and then they freeze in such a strange way, and 
look like flowers.' 

' Yes, I've seen that ! ' cried both the children ; and now 
they knew that it was true. 

' Can the Snow Queen come in here ? ' asked the little girl. 

' Only let her come,' cried the boy ; ' I'll set her upon 
the warm stove, and then she'll melt.' 

But grandmother smoothed his hair, and told some other 

In the evening, when little Kay was at home and half 
undressed, he clambered upon the chair by the window, 
and looked through the little hole. A few flakes of snow 
were falling outside, and one of them, the largest of them 
all, remained lying on the edge of one of the flower-boxes. 
The snowflake grew larger and larger, and at last became 
a maiden clothed in the finest white gauze, made out of 
millions of starry flakes. She was beautiful and delicate, 
but of ice — of shining, glittering ice. Yet she was alive ; 
her eyes flashed like two clear stars, but there was no peace 
or rest in them. She nodded towards the window, and 
beckoned with her hand. The little boy was frightened, 
and sprang down from the chair ; then it seemed as if 
a great bird flew by outside, in front of the window. 

Next day there was a clear frost, then there was 
a thaw, and then the spring came ; the sun shone, the green 
sprouted forth, the swallows built nests, the windows were 
opened, and the little children again sat in their garden 
high up in the roof, over all the floors. 

How splendidly the roses bloomed this summer ! The 
little girl had learned a psalm, in which mention was made 



of roses ; and, in speaking of roses, she thought of her 
own ; and she sang it to the little boy, and he sang, too, — 

The roses in the valleys grow 

Where we the infant Christ shall know. 

And the little ones held each other by the hand, kissed the 

roses, looked at God's bright sunshine, and spoke to it, 
as if the Christ-child were there. What splendid summer 
days those were ! How beautiful it was without, among the 
fresh rose bushes, which seemed as if they would never leave 
off blooming ! 


Kay and Gerda sat and looked at the picture-book of 
beasts and birds. Then it was, while the clock was just 
striking five on the church tower, that Kay said, 

' Oh ! something struck my heart and pricked me in the 

The little girl fell upon his neck ; he blinked his eyes. 
No, there was nothing at all to be seen. 

' I think it is gone,' said he ; but it was not gone. It 
was just one of those glass fragments which sprang from 
the mirror — the magic mirror that we remember well, the 
ugly glass that made everything great and good which was 
mirrored in it to seem small and mean, but in which the 
mean and the wicked things were brought out in relief, 
and every fault was noticeable at once. Poor little Kay 
had also received a splinter just in his heart, and that 
will now soon become like a lump of ice. It did not hurt 
him now, but the splinter was still there. 

' Why do you cry ? ' he asked. ' You look ugly like that. 
There 's nothing the matter with me. Oh, fie ! ' he suddenly 
exclaimed, ' that rose is worm-eaten, and this one is quite 
crooked. After all, they're ugly roses. They're like the 
box in which they stand.' 

And then he kicked the box with his foot, and tore 
both the roses off. 

' Kay, what are you about ? ' cried the little girl. 

And when he noticed her fright he tore off another rose, 
and then sprang in at his own window, away from pretty 
little Gerda. 

When she afterwards came with her picture-book, he 
said it was only fit for babies in arms ; and when grand- 
mother told stories ho always came in with a but ; and when 
he could manage it, he would get behind her, put on a pair 
of spectacles, and talk just as she did ; he could do that 
very cleverly, and the people laughed at him. Soon he 
could mimic the speech and the gait of everybody in the 
street. Everything that was pecuHar or ugly about them 
Kay could imitate ; and people said, ' That boy must 
certainly have a remarkable head.' But it was the glass 
he had got in his eye, the glass that stuck deep in his heart ; 
so it happened that he even teased little Gerda, who loved 
him with all her heart. 

AND. F. T. J 3 


His games now became quite different from what they 
were before ; they became quite sensible. One winter's day 
when it snowed he came out with a great burning-glass, 
held up the blue tail of his coat, and let the snowflakes 
fall upon it. 

' Now look at the glass, Gerda,' said he. 

And every flake of snow was magnified, and looked like 
a splendid flower, or a star with ten points : it was beautiful 
to behold. 

' See how clever that is,' said Kay. * That *s much more 
interesting than real flowers ; and there is not a single 
fault in it — they're quite regular until they begin to melt.' 

Soon after Kay came in thick gloves, and with his sledge 
upon his back. He called up to Gerda, 'I've got leave 
to go into the great square, where the other boys play,' 
and he was gone. 

In the great square the boldest among the boys often tied 
their sledges to the country people's carts, and thus rode 
with them a good way. They went capitally. When they 
were in the midst of their playing there came a great sledge. 
It was painted quite white, and in it sat somebody wrapped 
in a rough white fur, and with a white rough cap on his 
head. The sledge drove twice round the square, and Kay 
bound his little sledge to it, and so he drove on with it. 
It went faster and faster, straight into the next street. 
The man who drove turned round and nodded in a friendly 
way to Kay ; it was as if they knew one another : each time 
when Kay wanted to cast loose his little sledge, the stranger 
nodded again, and then Kay remained where he was, and 
thus they drove out at the to^Ti gate. Then the snow 
began to fall so rapidly that the boy could not see a hand's 
breadth before him, but still he drove on. Now he hastily 
dropped the cord, so as to get loose from the great sledge, 
but that was no use, for his sledge was fast bound to the 
other, and they went on like the wind. Then he called 
out quite loudly, but nobody heard him ; and the snow 
beat down, and the sledge flew onward ; every now and 
then it gave a jump, and they seemed to be flying over 
hedges and ditches. The boy was quite frightened. He 
wanted to say his prayers, but could remember nothing but 
the multiplication table. 


The snowflakes became larger and larger ; at last they 
looked like great white fowls. All at once they sprang 
aside and the great sledge stopped, and the person who had 
driven it rose up. The fur and the cap were made altogether 
of ice. It was a lady, tall and slender, and brilliantly white : 
it was the Snow Queen. 

' We have driven well ! ' said she. ' But why do you 
tremble with cold ? Creep into my fur.' 

And she seated him beside her in her ow^n sledge, and 
wrapped the fur round him, and he felt as if he sank into 
a snow-drift. 

' Are you still cold ? ' asked she, and then she kissed 
him on the forehead. 

Oh, that was colder than ice ; it went quite through to 
his heart, half of which was already a lump of ice : he felt 
as if he w^ere going to die ; but only for a moment ; for 
then he seemed quite well, and he did not notice the cold 
all about him. 

' My sledge ! don't forget my sledge.' 

That w^as the first thing he thought of ; and it was bound 
fast to one of the white chickens, and this chicken flew 
behind him with the sledge upon its back. The Snow Queen 
kissed Kay again, and then he had forgotten little Gerda, 
his grandmother, and all at home. 

' Now you shall have no more kisses,' said she, ' for if 
j^ou did I should kiss you to death.' 

Kay looked at her. She was so beautiful, he could not 
imagine a more sensible or lovely face ; she did not appear 
to him to be made of ice now as before, when she sat at 
the window and beckoned to him. In his eyes she was 
perfect ; he did not feel at all afraid. He told her that he 
could do mental arithmetic as far as fractions, that he 
knew the number of square miles, and the number of in- 
habitants in the country. And she always smiled, and then 
it seemed to him that what he knew was not enough, and 
he looked up into the wide sky, and she flew with him 
high up upon the black cloud, and the storm blew and 
whistled ; it seemed as though the wand sang old songs. 
They flew over woods and lakes, over sea and land : below 
them roared the cold wind, the wolves howled, the snow 
crackled ; over them flew the black screaming crows ; 


but above all the moon shone bright and clear, and Kay 
looked at the long, long winter night ; by day he slept 
at the feet of the Queen. 


The Flower Garden of the Woman who could 

But how did it fare with little Gerda when Kay did not 
return ? What could have become of him ? No one knew, 
no one could give information. The boys only told that 
they had seen him bind his sledge to another very large 
one, which had driven along the street and out at the town 
gate. Nobody knew what had become of him ; many tears 
were shed, and little Gerda especially wept long and 
bitterly : then they said he was dead — he had been drowned 
in the river which flowed close by their town. Oh, those 
were very dark long winter days ! But now spring came, 
with warmer sunshine. 

' Kay is dead and gone,' said little Gerda. 

' I don't believe it,' said the Sunshine. 

' He is dead and gone,' said she to the Swallows. 

' We don't believe it,' they replied ; and at last little 
Gerda did not believe it herself. 

' I will put on my new red shoes,' she said one morning, 
' those that Kay has never seen ; and then I will go down 
to the river, and ask for him.' 

It was still very early ; she kissed the old grandmother, 
who was still asleep, put on her red shoes, and went quite 
alone out of the town gate towards the river. 

' Is it true that you have taken away my little playmate 
from me ? I will give you my red shoes if you will give 
him back to me ! ' 

And it seemed to her as if the weaves nodded quite 
strangely ; and then she took her red shoes, that she liked 
best of anything she possessed, and threw them both into 
the river ; but they fell close to the shore, and the little 
wavelets carried them back to her, to the land. It seemed 
as if the river would not take from her the dearest things 
she possessed because it had not her little Kay ; but she 


thought she had not thrown the shoes far enough out ; 
so she crept into a boat that lay among the reeds ; she 
went to the other end of the boat, and threw the shoes 
from thence into the water ; but the boat was not bound 
fast, and at the movement she made it glided away from 
the shore. She noticed it, and hurried to get back, but 
before she reached the other end the boat was a yard 
from the bank, and it drifted away faster than before. 

Then little Gerda was very much frightened, and began 
to cry ; but no one heard her except the Sparrows, and 
they could not carry her to land ; but they flew along 
by the shore, and sang, as if to console her, ' Here we are ! 
here we are ! ' The boat drove on with the stream, and 
little Gerda sat quite still, with only her stockings on her 
feet ; her little red shoes floated along behind her, but 
they could not come up to the boat, for that made more way. 

It was very pretty on both shores. There were beautiful 
flowers, old trees, and slopes with sheep and cows ; but not 
one person was to be seen. 

' Perhaps the river will carry me to little Kay,' thought 

And then she became more cheerful, and rose up, and for 
many hours she watched the charming green banks ; then 
she came to a great cherry orchard, in which stood a little 
house with remarkable blue and red windows ; it had 
a thatched roof, and without stood two wooden soldiers, 
who presented arms to those who sailed past. 

Gerda called to them, for she thought they were alive, 
but of course they did not answer. She came quite close 
to them ; the river carried the boat towards the shore. 

Gerda called still louder, and then there came out of the 
house an old, old woman leaning on a crutch : she had on 
a great sun-hat, painted over with the finest flowers. 

' You poor little child ! ' said the old woman, ' how did 
you manage to come on the great rolling river, and to float 
thus far out into the world ? ' 

And then the old woman went quite into the water, 
seized the boat with her crutch-stick, drew it to land, and 
lifted little Gerda out. And Gerda was glad to be on dry 
land again, though she felt a little afraid of the strange old 


' Come and tell me who you are, and how you came here/ 
said the old lady. And Gerda told her everything ; and the 
old woman shook her head, and said, ' Hem ! hem ! ' And 
when Gerda had told everything, and asked if she had not 
seen little Kay, the woman said that he had not yet come 
by, but that he probably would soon come. Gerda was not 
to be sorrowful, but to look at the flowers and taste the 
cherries, for they were better than any picture-book, for 
each one of them could tell a story. Then she took Gerda 
by the hand and led her into the little house, and the old 
woman locked the door. 

The windows were very high, and the panes were red, 
blue, and yellow ; the daylight shone in a remarkable way, 
with different colours. On the table stood the finest cherries, 
and Gerda ate as many of them as she liked, for she had 
leave to do so. While she was eating them, the old lady 
combed her hair with a golden comb, and the hair hung 
in ringlets of pretty yellow round the friendly little face, 
which looked as blooming as a rose. 

' I have long wished for such a dear little girl as you,' 
said the old lady. ' Now you shall see how well we shall 
live with one another.' 

And as the ancient dame combed her hair, Gerda forgot 
her adopted brother Kay more and more ; for this old 
woman could conjure, but she was not a wicked witch. 
She only practised a little magic for her own amusement, 
and wanted to keep little Gerda. Therefore she went into 
the garden, stretched out her crutch towards all the rose- 
bushes, and, beautiful as they were, they all sank into the 
earth, and one could not tell where they had stood. The old 
woman was afraid that if the little girl saw roses, she would 
think of her own, and remember little Kay, and run away. 

Now Gerda was led out into the flower-garden. What 
fragrance v/as there, and what loveliness ! Every conceiv- 
able flower was there in full bloom ; there were some for 
every season : no picture-book could be gayer and prettier. 
Gerda jumped high for joy, and played till the sun went 
down behind the high cherry-trees ; then she was put 
into a lovely bed with red silk pillows stuffed with blue 
violets, and she slept there, and dreamed as gloriously as 
a Queen on her wedding-day. 



One day she played again with the flowers in the warm 
sunshine ; and thus many days went by. Gerda knew 
every flower ; but, as many as there were of them, it still 

seemed to her as if one were wanting, but which one she 
did not know. One day she sat looking at the old lady's 
hat with the painted flowers, and the prettiest of them all 
was a rose. The old lady had forgotten to take it out of 
her hat when she caused the others to disappear. But 


so it always is when one does not keep one's wits about 

' What, are there no roses here ? ' cried Gerda. 

And she went among the beds, and searched and searched, 
but there was not one to be found. Then she sat down 
and wept : her tears fell just upon a spot where a rose-bush 
lay buried, and when the warm tears moistened the earth, 
the bush at once sprouted up as blooming as when it had 
sunk ; and Gerda embraced it, and kissed the Roses, and 
thought of the beautiful roses at home, and also of little Kay. 

' Oh, how I have been detained ! ' said the little girl. 
' I wanted to seek for little Kay ! Do you not know where 
he is ? ' she asked the Roses. ' Do you think he is dead ? ' 

' He is not dead,' the Roses answered. ' We have been 
in the ground. All the dead people are there, but Kay is 
not there.' 

' Thank you,' said little Gerda ; and she went to the 
other flowers, looked into their cups, and asked, ' Do you 
not know where little Kay is ? ' 

But every flower stood in the sun thinking only of her 
own story or fairy tale : Gerda heard many, many of them ; 
but not one knew anything of Kay. 

And what did the Tiger-Lily say ? 

' Do you hear the drum " Rub-dub " ? There are only 
two notes, always " rub -dub ! " Hear the morning song 
of the women, hear the call of the priests. The Hindoo 
widow stands in her long red mantle on the funeral pile ; 
the flames rise up around her and her dead husband ; 
but the Hindoo woman is thinking of the living one here 
in the circle, of him whose eyes burn hotter than flames, 
whose fiery glances have burned in her soul more ardently 
than the flames themselves, which are soon to burn her 
body to ashes. Can the flame of the heart die in the flame 
of the funeral pile ? ' 

' I don't understand that at all ! ' said little Gerda. 

' That 's my story,' said the Lily. 

What says the Convolvulus ? 

' Over the na^rrow road looms an old knightly castle : 
thickly the ivy grows over the crumbling red walls, leaf 
by leaf up to the balcony, and there stands a beautiful 
girl ; she bends over the balustrade and looks down at 


the road. No rose on its branch is fresher than she ; no 
apple blossom wafted onward by the wind floats more lightly 
along. How her costly silks rustle 1 " Comes he not yet ? " ' 

' Is it Kay whom you mean ? ' asked little Gerda. 

'I'm only speaking of my own story — my dream,' repUed 
the Convolvulus. 

What said the little Snowdrop ? 

' Between the trees a long board hangs by ropes ; that 
is a swing. Two pretty little girls, with clothes white as 
snow and long green silk ribbons on their hats, are sitting 
upon it, swinging ; their brother, who is greater than they, 
stands in the swing, and has slung his arm round the rope 
to hold himself, for in one hand he has a little saucer, and 
in the other a clay pipe ; he is blowing bubbles. The 
swing flies, and the bubbles rise with beautiful changing 
colours ; the last still hangs from the pipe-bowl, swaying 
in the wind. The swing flies on : the little black dog, light 
as the bubbles, stands up on his hind legs and wants to be 
taken into the swing ; it flies on, and the dog falls, barks, 
and grows angry, for he is teased, and the bubble bursts. 
A swinging board and a bursting bubble — that is my song.' 

' It may be very pretty, what you're telling, but you 
speak it so mournfully, and you don't mention little Kay 
at all.' 

What do the Hyacinths say ? 

' There were three beautiful sisters, transparent and 
delicate. The dress of one was red, that of the second blue, 
and that of the third quite white ; hand in hand they 
danced by the calm lake in the bright moonlight. They 
were not elves, they were human beings^ It was so sweet 
and fragrant there ! The girls disappeared in the forest, 
and the sweet fragrance became stronger : three coffins, 
with the three beautiful maidens lying in them, glided 
from the wood-thicket across the lake ; the glow-worms 
flew gleaming about them like little hovering lights. Are the 
dancing girls sleeping, or are they dead ? The flower-scent 
says they are dead and the evening bell tolls their knell.' 

' You make me quite sorrowful,' said little Gerda. * You 
scent so strongly, I cannot help thinking of the dead 
maidens. Ah ! is little Kay really dead ? The roses have 
been down in the earth, and they say no.' 


' Kling ! klang ! ' tolled the Hyacinth Bells. ' We are 
not tolling for little Kay — we don't know him ; we only 
sing our song, the only one we know.' 

And Gerda went to the Buttercup, gleaming forth from 
the green leaves. 

' You are a little bright sun,' said Gerda. ' Tell me, 
if you know, where I may find my companion.' 

And the Buttercup shone so gaily, and looked back at 
Gerda. What song might the Buttercup sing ? It was 
not about Kay. 

' In a little courtyard the clear sun shone warm on the 
first day of spring. The sunbeams glided down the white 
wall of the neighbouring house ; close by grew the first 
yellow flower, glancing like gold in the bright sun's ray. 
The old grandmother sat out of doors in her chair ; her 
granddaughter, a poor handsome maidservant, was coming 
home for a short visit : she kissed her grandmother. There 
was gold, heart's gold, in that blessed kiss, gold in the 
mouth, gold in the south, gold in the morning hour. See, 
that 's my little story,' said the Buttercup. 

' My poor old grandmother ! ' sighed Gerda. ' Yes, she 
is surely longing for me and grieving for me, just as she 
did for little Kay. But I shall soon go home and take 
Kay with me. There is no use of my asking the flowers, 
they only know their own song, and give me no information.* 
And then she tied her little frock round her, that she might 
run the faster ; but the Jonquil struck against her leg as 
she sprang over it, and she stopped to look at the tall 
yellow flower, and asked, ' Do you, perhaps, know anything 
of little Kay ? ' 

And she bent quite down to the flower, and what did 
it say ? 

' I can see myself ! I can see myself ! ' said the Jonquil. 
' Oh ! oh 1 how I smell ! Up in the little room in the gable 
stands a little dancing girl : she stands sometimes on one 
foot, sometimes on both ; she seems to tread on all the world. 
She 's nothing but an ocular delusion : she pours water 
out of a teapot on a bit of stuff — it is her bodice. " Clean- 
liness is a fine thing," she says ; her white frock hangs 
on a hook ; it has been washed in the teapot too, and dried 
on the roof : she puts it on and ties her saffron handker- 


chief round her neck, and the dress looks all the whiter. 
Point your toes ! look how she seems to stand on a stalk. 
I can see myself ! I can see myself ! ' 

' I don't care at all about that/ said Gerda. 'That is 
nothing to tell me about.' 

And then she ran to the end of the garden. The door 
was locked, but she pressed against the rusty lock, and it 
broke off, the door sprang open, and little Gerda ran with 
naked feet out into the wide world. She looked back 
three times, but no one was there to pursue her ; at last 
she could run no longer, and seated herself on a great stone, 
and when she looked round the summer was over — it was 
late in autumn : one could not notice that in the beautiful 
garden, where there was always sunshine, and the flowers 
of every season always bloomed. 

' Alas ! how I have loitered ! ' said little Gerda. ' Autumn 
has come. I may not rest again.' 

And she rose up to go on. Oh ! how sore and tired her 
little feet were. All around it looked cold and bleak ; 
the long willow leaves were quite yellow, and the mist 
dropped from them like water ; one leaf after another 
dropped ; only the sloe-thorn still bore fruit, but the sloes 
were sour, and set the teeth on edge. Oh ! how grey and 
gloomy it looked, the wide world ! 

The Prince and Princess 

Gerda was compelled to rest again ; then there came 
hopping across the snow, just opposite the spot where 
she was sitting, a great Crow. This Crow had long been 
sitting looking at her, nodding its head — now it said, 
' Kj^ah ! krah ! Good day ! good day ! ' It could not 
pronounce better, but it felt friendly towards the little 
girl, and asked where she was going all alone in the wide 
world. The word ' alone ' Gerda understood very well, 
and felt how much it expressed ; and she told the Crow 
the whole story of her life and fortunes, and asked if it 
had not seen Kay. 

And the Crow nodded very gravely, and said, 


' That may be ! that may be ! ' 

' What, do you think so ? ' cried the little girl, and nearly 
pressed the Crow to death, she kissed it so. 

' Gently, gently ! ' said the Crow. ' I think I know : 
I believe it may be little Kay, but he has certainly forgotten 
you, with the Princess.' 

' Does he live with a Princess ? ' asked Gerda. 

' Yes ; listen,' said the Crow. ' But it 's so difficult for 
me to speak your language. If you know the Crows' 
language, I can tell it much better.' 

' No, I never learned it,' said Gerda ; ' but my grand- 
mother understood it, and could speak the language too. 
I only wish I had learned it.' 

' That doesn't matter/ said the Crow. * I shall tell you 
as well as I can.' 

And then the Crow told what it knew. 

'In the country in which we now are, lives a Princess 
who is quite wonderfully clever, but then she has read all 
the newspapers in the world, and has forgotten them again, 
she is so clever. Lately she was sitting on the throne — and 
that 's not so pleasant as is generally supposed — and she 
began to sing a song, and it was just this, "Why should 
I not marry now ? " You see, there was something in 
that,' said the Crow. * And so she wanted to marry, but 
she wished for a husband who could answer when he was 
spoken to, not one who only stood and looked handsome, 
for that is so tiresome. And so she had all her maids of 
honour summoned, and when they heard her intention they 
were very glad. " I like that," said they ; "I thought 
the very same thing the other day." You may be sure that 
every word I am telling you is true,' added the Crow. 
' I have a tame sweetheart who goes about freely in the 
castle, and she told me everything.' 

Of course the sweetheart was a crow, for one crow always 
finds out another, and birds of a feather flock together. 

' Newspapers were published directly, with a border of 
hearts and the Princess's initials. One could read in them 
that every young man who was good-looking might come 
to the castle and speak with the Princess, and him who 
spoke so that one could hear he was at home there, and who 
spoke best, the Princess would choose for her husband. 


Yes, yes,' said the Crow, * you may believe me. It 's as 
true as I sit here. Young men came flocking in ; there 
was a great crowding and much running to and fro, but 
no one succeeded the first or second day. They could 
all speak well when they were out in the streets, but when 
they entered at the palace gates, and saw the guards 
standing in their silver lace, and went up the staircase, 
and saw the lackeys in their golden liveries, and the great 
lighted halls, they became confused. And when they 
stood before the throne itself, on which the Princess sat, 
they could do nothing but repeat the last word she had 
spoken, and she did not care to hear her own words again. 
It was just as if the people in there had taken some narcotic 
and fallen asleep, till they got into the street again, for 
not till then were they able to speak. There stood a whole 
row of them, from the town gate to the palace gate. I went 
in myself to see it,' said the Crow. ' They were hungry 
and thirsty, but in the palace they did not receive so much 
as a glass of lukewarm water. A few of the wisest had 
brought bread and butter with them, but they would not 
share with their neighbours, for they thought " Let him 
look hungry, and the Princess won't have him." ' 

' But Kay, Httle Kay ? ' asked Gerda. ' When did he 
come ? Was he among the crowd ? ' 

' Wait, wait ! We're just coming to him. It was on the 
third day that there came a little personage, without horse 
or carriage, walking quite merrily up to the castle ; his 
eyes sparkled like yours, he had fine long hair, but his 
clothes were shabby.' 

' That was Kay ! ' cried Gerda, rejoicingly. ' Oh, then 
I have found him ! ' And she clapped her hands. 

' He had a little knapsack on his back ' observed the 

' No, that must certainly have been his sledge,' said 
Gerda, ' for he went away with a sledge.' 

' That may well be,' said the Crow, ' for I did not look 
to it very closely. But this much I know from my tame 
sweetheart, that when he passed under the palace gate 
and saw the Life Guards in silver, and mounted the stair- 
case and saw the lackeys in gold, he was not in the least 
embarrassed. He nodded, and said to them, " It must be 


tedious work standing on the stairs — I'd rather go in." 
The halls shone full of lights ; privy councillors and Excel- 
lencies walked about with bare feet, and carried golden 
vessels ; any one might have become solemn ; and his 
boots creaked most noisily, but he was not embarrassed.' 

' That is certainly Kay I ' cried Gerda. ' He had new 
boots on ; I've heard them creak in grandmother's room.' 

' Yes, certainly they creaked,' resumed the Crow. ' And 
he went boldly in to the Princess herself, who sat on a pearl 
that was as big as a spinning-wheel ; and all the maids 
of honour with their attendants, and the attendants' 
attendants, and all the cavaliers with their followers, and 
the followers of their followers, who themselves kept a page 
apiece, were standing round ; and the nearer they stood 
to the door, the prouder they looked. The followers' 
followers' pages, who always went in slippers, could hardly 
be looked at, so proudly did they stand in the doorway ! ' 

' That must be terrible ! ' faltered little Gerda. ' And 
yet Kay won the Princess ? ' 

' If I had not been a crow, I would have married her 
myself, notwithstanding that I am engaged. They say 
he spoke as well as I can when I speak the crows' language ; 
I heard that from my tame sweetheart. He was merry and 
agreeable ; he had not come to woo, but only to hear the 
wisdom of the Princess ; and he approved of her, and she 
of him.' 

' Yes, certainly that was Kay ! ' said Gerda. ' He was 
so clever, he could do mental arithmetic up to fractions. 
Oh ! won't you lead me to the castle too ? ' 

' That 's easily said,' replied the Crow. * But how are 
we to manage it ? I'll talk it over with my tame sweet- 
heart ; she can probably advise us ; for this I must tell 
you — a little girl like yourself will never get leave to go 
quite in.' 

' Yes, I shall get leave,' said Gerda. ' When Kay hears 
that I'm there he'll come out directly, and bring me in.' 

' Wait for me yonder at the stile,' said the Crow ; and 
it wagged its head and flew away. 

It was already late in the evening when the Crow came 

' Rare ! rare ! ' it said. ' I'm to greet you kindly from 


my sweetheart, and here 's a Httle loaf for you. She took 
it from the kitchen. There 's plenty of bread there, and you 
must be hungry. You can't possibly get into the palace, 
for you are barefoot, and the guards in silver and the 
lackeys in gold would not allow it. But don't cry ; you 
shall go up. My sweetheart knows a little back staircase 
that leads up to the bedroom, and she knows where she can 
get the key.' 

And they went into the garden, into the great avenue, 
where one leaf was falling down after another ; and when 
the lights were extinguished in the palace one after the other, 
the Crow led Gerda to a back door, which stood ajar. 

Oh, how Gerda's heart beat with fear and longing ! It 
was just as if she had been going to do something wicked ; 
and yet she only wanted to know if it was little Kay. 
Yes, it must be he. She thought so deeply of his clear 
eyes and his long hair, she could fancy she saw how he 
smiled as he had smiled at home when they sat among 
the roses. He would certainly be glad to see her ; to hear 
what a long distance she had come for his sake ; to know 
how sorry they had all been at home when he did not come 
back. Oh, what a fear and what a joy that was ! 

Now they were on the staircase. A little lamp was burn- 
ing upon a cupboard, and in the middle of the floor stood 
the tame Crow turning her head on every side and looking 
at Gerda, who curtsied as her grandmother had taught 
her to do. 

' My betrothed has spoken to me very favourably of you, 
my little lady,' said the tame Crow. ' Your historj^, as 
it may be called, is very moving. Will you take the lamp ? 
then I will precede you. We will go the straight way, 
for we shall meet nobody.' 

' I feel as if some one were coming after us,' said Gerda, 
as sometliing rushed by her : it seemed like shadows on 
the wall ; horses with flying manes and thin legs, hunters, 
and ladies and gentlemen on horseback. 

' These are only dreams,' said the Crow ; * they are 
coming to carry the high masters' thoughts out hunting. 
That 's all the better, for you may look at them the more 
closely, in bed. But I hope, when you come to honour and 
dignity, you will show a grateful heart.' 



' Of that we may be sure ! ' observed the Crow from the 

Now they came into the first hall : it was hung with 
rose-coloured satin, and artificial flowers were worked on 
the walls ; and here the dreams already came fhtting by 
them, but they moved so quickly that Gerda could not 
see the high-born lords and ladies. Each hall was more 
splendid than the last ; yes, one could almost become 

bewildered ! Now they were in the bedchamber. Here 
the ceiling was like a great palm-tree with leaves of glass, 
of costly glass, and in the middle of the floor two beds 
hung on a thick stalk of gold, and each of them looked 
like a lily. One of them was white, and in that lay the 
Princess ; the other was red, and in that Gerda was to 
seek little Kay. She bent one of the red leaves aside, 
and then she saw a little brown neck. Oh, that was Kay ! 
She called out his name quite loud, and held the lamp 
towards him. The dreams rushed into the room again on 
horseback — he awoke, turned his head, and — it was not 
little Kay ! 


The PrincG was only like him in the neck ; but he was 
young and good-looking, and the Princess looked up, 
blinking, from the white lily, and asked who was there. 
Then little Gerda wept, and told her whole history, and 
all that the Crows had done for her. 

' You poor child ! ' said the Prince and Princess. 

And they praised the Crows, and said that they w^ere not 
angry with them at all, but the Crows were not to do it 
again. However, they should be rewarded. 

' Will you fly out free ? ' asked the Princess, ' or will 
you have fixed positions as court crows, with the right to 
everything that is left in the kitchen ? ' 

And the two Crows bowed, and begged for fixed positions, 
for they thought of their old age, and said, ' It is so good 
to have some provisions for one's old days,' as they called 

And the Prince got up out of his bed, and let Gerda sleep 
in it, and he could not do more than that. She folded her 
little hands, and thought, ' How good men and animals 
are ! ' and then she shut her eyes and went quietly to sleep. 
All the dreams came flj^ng in again, looking like angels, 
and they drew a little sledge, on which Kay sat nodding ; 
but all this was only a dream, and therefore it was gone 
again as soon as she awoke. 

The next day she was clothed from head to foot in silk 
and velvet ; and an offer was made her that she should 
stay in the castle and enjoy pleasant times ; but she only 
begged for a little carriage, with a horse to draw it, and a pair 
of little boots ; then she would drive out into the world 
and seek for Kay. 

And she received not only boots, but a muff likewise, 
and was neatly dressed ; and when she was ready to depart 
a coach made of pure gold stopped before the door. Upon 
it shone like a star the coat of arms of the Prince and 
Princess ; coachman, footmen, and outriders — for there 
were outriders too — sat on horseback with gold crowns on 
their heads. The Prince and Princess themselves helped 
her into the carriage, and wished her all good fortune. 
The forest Crow, who was now married, accompanied her 
the first three miles ; he sat by Gerda's side, for he could 
not bear riding backwards : the other Crow stood in the 


doorway flapping her wings ; she did not go with them, 
for she suffered from headache, that had come on since 
she had obtained a fixed position and was allowed to eat 
too much. The coach was lined with sugar-biscuits, and 
in the seat there were gingerbread-nuts and fruit. 

' Farewell, farewell ! ' cried the Prince and Princess ; and 
little Gerda wept, and the Crow wept. So they went on 
for the first three miles ; and then the Crow said good-bye, 
and that was the heaviest parting of all. The Crow flew 
up on a tree, and beat his black wings as long as he could 
see the coach, which glittered Hke the bright sunshine. 

The Little Robber Girl 

They drove on through the thick forest, but the coach 
gleamed like a torch, dazzling the robbers' eyes, so that 
they could not bear it. 

' That is gold ! that is gold ! ' cried they, and rushed 
forward, and seized the horses, killed the postilions, the 
coachman, and the footmen, and then pulled Httle Gerda 
out of the carriage. 

' She is fat — she is pretty — she is fed with nut-kernels ! ' 
said the old robber woman, who had a very long stiff beard, 
and shaggy eyebrows that hung down over her eyes. 
* She 's as good as a little pet lamb ; how I shall relish her ! ' 

And she drew out her shining knife, that gleamed in 
a horrible way. 

' Oh ! ' screamed the old woman at the same moment ; 
for her own daughter who hung at her back bit her ear in 
a very naughty and spiteful manner. ' You ugly brat ! ' 
screamed the old woman ; and she had not time to kill 

' She shall play with me ! ' said the httle robber girl. 
' She shall give me her muff and her pretty dress, and sleep 
with me in my bed ! ' 

And then the girl gave another bite, so that the woman 
jumped high up, and turned right round, and all the robbers 
laughed, and said, 

' Look how she dances with her calf.' 


' I want to go into the carriage,' said the little robber girl. 

And she would have her own way, for she was spoiled, 
and very obstinate ; and she and Gerda sat in the carriage, 
and drove over stock and stone deep into the forest. The 
little robber girl was as big as Gerda, but stronger and more 
broad-shouldered ; and she had a brown skin ; her eyes 
were quite black, and they looked almost mournful. She 
clasped little Gerda round the waist, and said, 

' They shall not kill you as long as I am not angry with 
you. I suppose you are a Princess ? ' 

'No,' replied Gerda. And she told all that had happened 
to her, and how fond she was of little Kay. 

The robber girl looked at her seriously, nodded slightly, 
and said, 

' They shall not kill you even if I do get angry with you, 
for then I will do it myself.' 

And then she dried Gerda's eyes, and put her two hands 
into the beautiful muff that was so soft and warm. 

Now the coach stopped, and they were in the courtyard 
of a robber castle. It had split from the top to the bottom; 
ravens and crows flew out of the great holes, and big 
bulldogs — each of which looked as if he could devour 
a man — jumped high up, but they did not bark, for that 
was forbidden. 

In the great old smoky hall a bright fire burned upon 
the stone floor ; the smoke passed along under the ceiHng, 
and had to seek an exit for itself. A great cauldron of soup 
was boiling and hares and rabbits were roasting on the spit. 

' You shall sleep to-night with me and all my little 
animals,' said the robber girl. 

They got something to eat and drink, and then went 
to a corner, where straw and carpets were spread out. 
Above these sat on laths and perches more than a hundred 
pigeons, that all seemed asleep, but they turned a little 
when the two little girls came. 

' All these belong to me,' said the little robber girl ; 
and she quickly seized one of the nearest, held it by the 
feet, and shook it so that it flapped its wings. ' Kiss it ! ' 
she cried, and beat it in Gerda's face. ' There sit the wood 
rascals,' she continued, pointing to a number of laths that 
had been nailed in front of a hole in the wall. " Those are 


wood rascals, those two ; they fly away directly if one 
does not keep them well locked up. And here 's my old 
sweetheart " Ba "/ And she pulled out by the horn a 
Reindeer, that was tied up, and had a polished copper ring 
round its neck. ' We're obliged to keep him tight too, or 
he'd run away from us. Every evening I tickle his neck 
with a sharp knife, and he 's very frightened at that.' 

And the little girl drew a long knife from a cleft in the 
wall, and let it glide over the Reindeer's neck ; the poor 
creature kicked out its legs, and the little robber girl 
laughed, and drew Gerda into bed with her. 

' Do you keep the knife beside you while you're asleep ? ' 
asked Gerda, and looked at it in rather a frightened way. 

' I always sleep with my knife,' replied the robber girl. 
' One does not know what may happen. But now tell me 
again what you told me just now about little Kay, and 
why you came out into the wide world.' 

And Gerda told it again from the beginning ; and the 
Wood Pigeons cooed above them in their cage, and the other 
pigeons slept. The little robber girl put her arm round 
Gerda's neck, held her knife in the other hand, and slept 
so that one could hear her ; but Gerda could not close 
her eyes at all — she did not know whether she was to live 
or die. 

The robbers sat round the fire, singing and drinking, and 
the old robber woman tumbled about. It was quite terrible 
for a little girl to behold. 

Then the Wood Pigeons said, ^ Coo ! coo ! we have seen 
little Kay. A white hen was carrying his sledge : he sat 
in the Snow Queen's carriage, which drove close by the 
forest as w^e lay in our nests. She blew upon us young 
pigeons, and all died except us two. Coo ! coo ! ' 

' What are you saying there ? ' asked Gerda. ' Whither 
was the Snow Queen travelling ? Do you know anything 
about it ? ' 

' She was probably journeying to Lapland, for there 
they have always ice and snow. Ask the Reindeer that is 
tied up with the cord.' 

' There is ice and snow yonder, and it is glorious and fine,' 
said the Reindeer. ' There one may run about free in great 
glittering plains. There the Snow Queen has her summer 


tent ; but her strong castle is up towards the North Pole, 
on the island that 's called Spitzbergen.' 

' Oh, Kay, Httle Kay ! ' cried Gerda. 

' You must lie still,' exclaimed the robber girl, ' or I shall 
thrust my knife into your body.' 

In the morning Gerda told her all that the Wood Pigeons 
had said, and the robber girl looked quite serious, and 
nodded her head and said, 

' That 's all the same, that 's all the same ! ' 

* Do you know where Lapland is ? ' she asked the 

' Who should know better than I ? ' the creature replied, 
and its eyes sparkled in its head. ' I was born and bred 
there ; I ran about there in the snow-fields.' 

* Listen ! ' said the robber girl to Gerda. ' You see all 
our men have gone away. Only mother is here still, and 
she'll stay ; but towards noon she drinks out of the big 
bottle, and then she sleeps for a little while ; then I'll 
do something for you.' 

Then she sprang out of bed, and clasped her mother 
round the neck and pulled her beard, crying 

' Good morning, my own old nanny-goat.' And her 
mother filliped her nose till it was red and blue ; but it 
was all done for pure love. 

When the mother had drunk out of her bottle and had 
gone to sleep upon it, the robber girl went to the Reindeer, 
and said, 

' I should like very much to tickle you a few times more 
with the knife, for you are very funny then ; but it 's all 
the same. I'll loosen your cord and help you out, so that 
you may run to Lapland ; but you must use your legs 
well, and carry this little girl to the palace of the 
Snow Queen, where her playfellow is. You've heard 
what she told me, for she spoke loud enough, and you were 

The Reindeer sprang up high for joy. The robber girl 
lifted little Gerda on its back, and had the forethought 
to tie her fast, and even to give her a little cushion as a 

' There are your fur boots for you,' she said, ' for it 's 
growing cold ; but I shall keep the muff, for that 's so 



very pretty. Still, you shall not be cold, for all that : 
here 's my mother's big mufflers — they'll just reach up to 
your elbows. Now your hands look just like my ugly 

And Gerda wept for joy. 

' I can't bear to see you whimper,' said the little robber 
girl. * No, you just ought to look very glad. And here 
are two loaves and a ham for you, so you won't be hungry.* 

These were tied on the Reindeer's iDack. The little robber 


girl opened the door, coaxed in all the big dogs, and then 
cut the rope with her sharp knife, and said to the Reindeer, 

* Now run, but take good care of the little girl.' 

And Gerda stretched out her hands with the big mufflers 
towards the little robber girl, and said, ' Farewell ! ' 

And the Reindeer ran over stock and stone, away through 
the great forest, over marshes and steppes, as quick as it 
could go. The wolves howled and the ravens croaked. 
' Hiss ! hiss ! ' it went in the air. It seemed as if the sky- 
were flashing fire. 

* Those are my old Northern Lights,' said the Reindeer. 
' Look how they glow ! ' And then it ran on faster than 
ever, day and night. 

The loaves were eaten, and the ham as well, and then 
they were in Lapland. 

The Lapland Woman and the Finland Woman 

At a little hut they stopped. It was very humble ; the 
roof sloped down almost to the ground, and the door was 
so low that the family had to creep on their stomachs 
when they wanted to go in or out. No one was in the house 
but an old Lapland woman, cooking fish on a train-oil 
lamp ; and the Reindeer told Gerda's whole history, but it 
related its own first, for this seemed to the Reindeer the 
more important of the two. Gerda was so exhausted by 
the cold that she could not speak. 

' Oh, you poor things,' said the Lapland woman, ' you've 
a long way to run yet ! You must go more than a hundred 
miles into Finmark, for the Snow Queen is there, staying 
in the country, and burning Bengal lights every evening. 
I'll write a few words on a dried cod, for I have no paper, 
and I'll give you that as a letter to the Finland woman ; 
she can give you better information than I.' 

And when Gerda had been warmed and refreshed with 
food and drink, the Lapland woman wrote a few words 
on a dried codfish, and telling Gerda to take care of it, 
tied her again on the Reindeer, and the Reindeer sprang 
away. Flash ! flash ! it went high in the air ; the whole 


night long the most beautiful blue Northern Lights were 

And then they got to Finmark, and knocked at the chim- 
ney of the Finland woman, for she had not even a door. 

There was such a heat in the chimney that the woman 
herself went about almost naked. She was little and very 
dirty. She at once loosened little Gerda's dress and took 
off the child's mufflers and boots ; otherwise it would 
have been too hot for her to bear. Then she laid a piece 
of ice on the Reindeer's head, and read what was written 
on the codfish ; she read it three times, and when she knew 
it by heart, she popped the fish into the soup-cauldron, 
for it was eatable, and she never wasted anything. 

Now the Reindeer first told his own history, and then little 
Gerda's ; and the Finland woman blinked with her clever 
eyes, but said nothing. 

' You are very clever,' said the Reindeer : ' I know you 
can tie all the winds of the world together with a bit of 
twine : if the seaman unties one knot, he has a good 
wind ; if he loosens the second, it blows hard ; but if he 
unties the third and the fourth, there comes such a tempest 
that the forests are thrown down. Won't you give the 
little girl a draughty so that she may get twelve men's 
power, and overcome the Snow Queen ? ' 

' Twelve men's power ! ' repeated the Finland woman. 
' Great use that would be ! ' 

And she went to a shelf, and brought out a great rolled-up 
fur, and unrolled it ; wonderful characters were written 
upon it, and the Finland woman read until the water ran 
down over her forehead. 

But the Reindeer again begged so hard for little Gerda, 
and Gerda looked at the Finland woman with such beseech- 
ing eyes full of tears, that she began to blink again with 
her own, and drew the Reindeer into a corner, and whispered 
to him, while she laid fresh ice upon his head, 

' Little Kay is certainly at the Snow Queen's, and finds 
everything there to his taste and liking, and thinks it the 
best place in the world ; but that is because he has a splinter 
of glass in his eye, and a little fragment in his heart ; but 
these must be got out, or he will never be a human being 
again, and the Snow Queen will keep her power over him.' 


* But cannot you give something to little Gerda, so as 
to give her power over all this ? ' 

' I can give her no greater power than she possesses 
already : don't you see how great that is ? Don't you see 
how men and animals are obliged to serve her, and how 
she gets on so well in the world, with her naked feet ? She 
must not learn her power from us : it consists in this, that 
she is a dear innocent child. If she herself cannot penetrate 
to the Snow Queen and get the glass out of little Kay, 
w^e can be of no use ! Two miles from here the Snow Queen's 
garden begins ; you can carry the little girl thither : set 
her down by the great bush that stands with its red berries 
in the snow. Don't stand gossiping, but make haste, and 
get back here ! ' 

And then the Finland woman lifted little Gerda on the 
Reindeer, which ran as fast as it could, 

' Oh, I haven't my boots ! I haven't my mufflers ! ' cried 

She soon noticed that in the cutting cold ; but the Reindeer 
dare not stop : it ran till it came to the bush with the red 
berries ; there it set Gerda down, and kissed her on the 
mouth, and great bright tears ran over the creature's 
cheeks ; and then it ran back, as fast as it could. There 
stood poor Gerda without shoes, without gloves, in the 
midst of the terrible cold Finmark. 

She ran forward as fast as possible ; then came a whole 
regiment of snowflakes ; but they did not fall down from 
the sky, for that was quite bright, and shone with the 
Northern Lights : the snowflakes ran along the ground, 
and the nearer they came the larger they grew. Gerda 
still remembered how large and beautiful the snowflakes 
had appeared when she looked at them through the burning- 
glass. But here they were certainly far longer and much 
more terrible — they were alive. They were the advanced 
posts of the Snow Queen, and had the strangest shapes. 
A few looked like ugly great porcupines ; others like knots 
formed of snakes, which stretched forth their heads ; and 
others like little fat bears, whose hair stood on end : all were 
brilliantly white, all were living snowflakes. 

Then little Gerda said her prayer ; and the cold was 
so great that she could see her own breath, which went 


forth out of her mouth hke smoke. The breath became 
thicker and thicker, and formed itself into little angels, 
who grew and grew whenever they touched the earth ; 
and all had helmets on their heads and shields and spears 
in their hands ; their number increased more and more, 
and when Gerda had finished her prayer a whole legion 
stood round about her, and struck with their spears at 
the terrible snowflakes, so that these were shattered into 
a thousand pieces ; and little Gerda could go forward 
afresh, with good courage. The angels stroked her hands 
and feet, and then she felt less how cold it was, and hastened 
on to the Snow Queen's palace. 

But now we must see what Kay is doing. He certainly 
was not thinking of little Gerda, and least of all that she 
was standing in front of the palace. 


Of the Snow Queen's Castle, and what happened 
there at last 

The walls of the palace were formed of the drifting snow, 
and the windows and doors of the cutting winds. There 
were more than a hundred halls, all blown together by the 
snow : the greatest of these extended for several miles ; 
the strong Northern Lights illumined them all, and how 
great and empty, how icily cold and shining they all were ! 
Never was merriment there, not even a little bears' ball, 
at which the storm could have played the music, while 
the bears walked about on their hind legs and showed off 
their pretty manners ; never any little coffee gossip among 
the young lady white foxes. Empty, vast, and cold were 
the halls of the Snow Queen. The Northern Lights flamed 
so brightly that one could count them where they stood 
highest and lowest. In the midst of this immense empty 
snow hall was a frozen lake, which had burst into a thousand 
pieces ; but each piece was like the rest, so that it was 
a perfect work of art ; and in the middle of the lake sat the 
Snow Queen when she was at home, and then she said 


that she sat in the mirror of reason, and that this was the 
only one, and the best in the world. 

Little Kay was quite blue with cold — indeed, almost 
black, but he did not notice it, for she had kissed the cold 
shudderings away from him ; and his heart was like a lump 
of ice. He dragged a few sharp flat pieces of ice to and fro, 
joining them together in all kinds of ways, for he wanted 
to achieve something with them. It was just like when 
we have little tablets of wood, and lay them together to 
form figures — what we call the Chinese puzzle. Kay also 
went and laid figures, and, indeed, very artistic ones. 
That was the icy game of reason. In his eyes these figures 
were very remarkable and of the highest importance ; that 
was because of the fragment of glass sticking in his eye. 
He laid out the figures so that they formed a word — but 
he could never manage to lay down the word as he wished 
to have it — the word ' Eternity '. And the Snow Queen 
had said, 

' If you can find out this figure, you shall be your own 
master, and I will give you the whole world and a new 
pair of skates.' 

But he could not. 

' Now I'll hasten away to the warm lands,' said the Snow 
Queen. ' I will go and look into the black pots ' : these 
were the volcanoes, Etna and Vesuvius, as they are called. 
' I shall make them a little white ! That 's necessary ; 
that will do the grapes and lemons good.' 

And the Snow Queen flew away, and Kay sat quite alone 
in the great icy hall that was miles in extent, and looked 
at his pieces of ice, and thought so deeply that cracks 
were heard inside him : he sat quite stiff and still, one 
would have thought that he was frozen to death. 

Then it happened that little Gerda stepped through the 
great gate into the wide hall. Here reigned cutting winds, 
but she prayed a prayer, and the winds lay down as if they 
would have gone to sleep ; and she stepped into the great 
empty cold halls, and beheld Kay ; she knew him, and 
flew to him and embraced him, and held him fast, and 
called out, 

' Kay, dear little Kay ! at last I have found you ! ' 

But he sat quite still, stiff and cold. Then little Gerda 


wept hot tears, that fell upon his breast ; they penetrated 
into his heart, they thawed the lump of ice, and consumed 
the little piece of glass in it. He looked at her, and she 
sang : 

Roses bloom and roses decay, 

But we the Christ-child shall see one day. 

Then Kay burst into tears ; he wept so that the splinter 
of glass came out of his eye. Now he recognized her, and 
cried rejoicingly, 

' Gerda, dear Gerda ! where have you been all this time ? 
And where have I been ? ' And he looked all around him. 
' How cold it is here ! how large and empty ! ' 

And he clung to Gerda, and she laughed and wept for 
joy. It was so glorious that even the pieces of ice round 
about danced for joy ; and when they were tired and lay 
down, they formed themselves just into the letters of which 
the Snow Queen had said that if he found them out he 
should be his own master, and she would give him the whole 
world and a new pair of skates. 

And Gerda kissed his cheeks, and they became blooming ; 
she kissed his eyes, and they shone like her own ; she kissed 
his hands and feet, and he became well and merry. The 
Snow Queen might now come home ; his letter of release 
stood written in shining characters of ice. 

And they took one another by the hand, and wandered 
forth from the great palace of ice. They spoke of the 
grandmother, and of the roses on the roof ; and where 
they went the winds rested and the sun burst forth ; and 
when they came to the bush with the red berries, the 
Reindeer was standing there waiting : it had brought 
another young reindeer, which gave the children warm 
milk, and kissed them on the mouth. Then they carried 
Kay and Gerda, first to the Finnish woman, where they 
warmed themselves thoroughly in the hot room, and 
received instructions for their journey home, and then to 
the Lapland woman, who had made their new clothes 
and put their sledge in order. 

The Reindeer and the young one sprang at their side, 
and followed them as far as the boundary of the country. 
There the first green sprouted forth, and there they took 


leave of the two reindeer and the Lapland woman. ' Fare- 
well ! ' eaid all. And the first little birds began to twitter, 
the forest was decked with green buds, and out of it on 
a beautiful horse (which Gerda knew, for it was the same 
that had drawn her golden coach) a young girl came riding, 
with a shining red cap on her head and a pair of pistols 
in the holsters. This was the little robber girl, who had 
grown tired of staying at home, and wished to go first to 
the north, and if that did not suit her, to some other region. 
She knew Gerda at once, and Gerda knew her too ; and 
it was a right merry meeting. 

' You are a fine fellow to gad about ! ' she said to little 
Kay. ' I should like to know if you deserve that one 
should run to the end of the world after you ? ' 

But Gerda patted her cheeks, and asked after the Prince 
and Princess. 

' They've gone to foreign countries,' said the robber girl. 

' But the Crow ? ' said Gerda. 

' Why, the Crow is dead,' answered the other. ' The 
tame one has become a widow, and goes about with an 
end of black worsted thread round her leg. She complains 
most lamentably, but it 's all talk. But now tell me how 
you have fared, and how you caught him.' 

And Gerda and Kay told their story. 

' Snip-snap-snurre-basse-lurre ! ' said the robber girl. 

And she took them both by the hand, and promised 
that if she ever came through their town, she would come up 
and pay them a visit. And then she rode away into the 
wide world. But Gerda and Kay went hand in hand, and 
as they went it became beautiful spring, with green and 
with flowers. The church bells sounded, and they recog- 
nized the high steeples and the great town : it was the one 
in which they lived ; and they went to the grandmother's 
door, and up the stairs, and into the room, where every- 
thing remained in its usual place. The big clock was going 
' Tick ! tack ! ' and the hands were turning ; but as they 
went through the rooms they noticed that they had become 
grown-up people. The roses out on the roof gutter were 
blooming in at the open window, and there stood the little 
children's chairs, and Kay and Gerda sat each upon their 
own, and held each other by the hand. They had forgotten 


the cold empty splendour at the Snow Queen's like a heavy 
dream. The grandmother was sitting in God's bright sun- 
shine, and read aloud out of the Bible, ' Except ye become 
as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom 
of God.' 

And Kay and Gerda looked into each other's eyes, and 
all at once they understood the old hymn — 

Roses bloom and roses decay. 

But we the Christ-child shall see one day. 

There they both sat, grown up, and yet children — children 
in heart — and it was summer, warm, delightful summer. 


There was once a Darning-Needle, who thought herself so 
fine, she imagined she was an embroidering-needle. 

' Take care, and mind you hold me tight ! ' she said to 
the Fingers which took her out. ' Don't let me fall ! If 
I fall on the ground I shall certainly never be found again, 
for I am so fine ! ' 

'That's as it may be,' said the Fingers ; and they 
grasped her round the body. 

' See, I'm coming with a train ! ' said the Darning- 
Needle, and she drew a long thread after her, but there was 
no knot in the thread. 

The Fingers pointed the needle just at the cook's slipper, 
in which the upper leather had burst, and was to be sewn 

' That 's vulgar work,' said the Darning-Needle. ' I 
shall never get through. I'm breaking ! I'm breaking ! ' 
And she really broke. ' Did I not say so ? ' said the 
Darning-Needle ; 'I'm too fine ! ' 

' Now it 's quite useless,' said the Fingers ; but they 
were obliged to hold her fast, all the same ; for the cook 
dropped some sealing-wax upon the needle, and pinned 
her handkerchief together with it in front. 

' So, now I'm a breast-pin ! ' said the Darning-Needle. 
* I knew very well that I should come to honour : when one 
is something, one always comes to something ! ' 


And she laughed inwardly — for no one can ever see out- 
wardly when a darning-needle laughs. There she sat, as 
proud as if she was in a state coach, and looked all about her. 

' May I be permitted to ask if you are of gold ? ' she 
inquired of the pin, her neighbour. ' You have a very 
pretty appearance, and a head of your own, but it is only 
little. You must see that it grows, for it 's not every one 
that has sealing-wax dropped upon their end.' 

And the Darning-Needle drew herself up so proudly that 
she fell out of the handkerchief right into the sink, which 
the cook was rinsing out. 

' Now we're going on a journey,' said the Darning- 
Needle. — ' If only I don't get lost ! ' 

But she really was lost. 

' I'm too fine for this world,' she observed, as she lay 
in the gutter. ' But I know who I am, and there 's always 
something in that ! ' 

So the Darning-Needle kept her proud behaviour, and 
did not lose her good humour. And things of many kinds 
swam over her, chips and straws and pieces of old news- 

' Only look how they sail ! ' said the Darning-Needle. 
' They don't know what is under them ! I'm here, I re- 
main firmly here. See, there goes a chip thinking of 
nothing in the world but of himself — of a chip ! There 's 
a straw going by now. How he turns ! how he twirls 
about ! Don't think so much of yourself, you might easily 
run up against a stone. There swims a bit of newspaper. 
What 's wTitten upon it has long been forgotten, and yet 
it gives itself airs. I sit quietly and patiently here, I know 
who I am, and I shall remain what I am.' 

One day something lay close beside her that glittered 
splendidly ; then the Darning-Needle believed that it 
was a diamond ; but it was a Bit of broken Bottle ; and 
because it shone, the Darning-Needle spoke to it, intro- 
ducing herself as a breast-pin. 

' I suppose you are a diamond ? ' she observed. 

' Why, yes, something of that kind.' 

And then each believed the other to be a very valuable 
thing ; and they began speaking about the world, and how 
very conceited it was. 



' I have been in a lady's box,' said the Daming-Needle, 
* and this lady was a cook. She had five fingers on each 
hand, and I never saw anything so conceited as those five 
fingers. And yet they were only there that they might 
take me out of the box and put me back into it.' 

' Were they of good birth ? ' asked the Bit of Bottle. 

' No, indeed,' replied the Darning-Needle, ' but very 
haughty. There were five brothers, all of the finger family. 
They kept very proudly together, though they were of 


different lengths : the outermost, the thumbling, was short 
and fat ; he walked out in front of the ranks, and only 
had one joint in his back, and could only make a single 
bow ; but he said that if he were hacked off from a man, 
that man was useless for service in war. Lick -pot, the 
second finger, thrust himself into sweet and sour, pointed 
to sun and moon, and he was the one who held the pen 
when they wrote. Longman, the third, looked over the 
heads of the others. Goldborder, the fourth, went about 
with a golden belt round his waist ; and little Peter Piayman 
did nothing at all, and was proud of it. There was nothing 
but bragging among them, and therefore I went away.' 


' And now we sit here and glitter ! ' said the Bit of 

At that moment more water came into the gutter, so 
that it overflowed, and the Bit of Bottle was carried away. 

' So, he is disposed of,' observed the Darning-Needle. 
' I remain here, I am too fine. But that 's my pride, and 
my pride is honourable.' And proudly she sat there, and 
had many great thoughts. ' I could almost believe I had 
been born of a sunbeam, I'm so fine ! It really appears 
to me as if the sunbeams were always seeking for me 
under the water. Ah ! I'm so fine that my mother cannot 
find me. If I had my old eye, which broke off, I think 
I should cry ; but, no, I should not do that : it 's not 
genteel to cry.' 

One day a couple of street boys lay grubbing in the 
gutter, where they sometimes found old nails, farthings, 
and similar treasures. It was dirty work, but they took 
great delight in it. 

' Oh ! ' cried one, who had pricked himself with the 
Darning-Needle, ' there 's a fellow for you ! ' 

'I'm not a fellow, I'm a young lady ! ' said the Darning- 

But nobody listened to her. The sealing wax had come 
off, and she had turned black ; but black makes one look 
slender, and she thought herself finer even than before. 

' Here comes an egg-shell sailing along ! ' said the boys ; 
and they stuck the Darning-Needle fast in the egg-shell. 

' White walls, and black myself ! that looks well,' 
remarked the Darning-Needle. ' Now one can see me. 
I only hope I shall not be sea-sick ! ' But she was not sea- 
sick at all. ' It is good against sea -sickness, if one has 
a steel stomach, and does not forget that one is a little 
more than an ordinary person ! Now my sea-sickness is 
over. The finer one is, the more one can bear.' 

' Crack ! ' went the egg-shell, for a hand-barrow went 
over her. 

' Good heavens, how it crushes one ! ' said the Darning- 
Needle. ' I'm getting sea-sick now, — I'm quite sick.' 

But she was not really sick, though the hand-barrow 
went over her ; she lay there at full length, and there she 
may lie. 

AND. F. T. I^ 3 



There was once a little girl ; a very nice pretty little 
girl. But in summer she had to go barefoot, because she 
was poor, and in winter she wore thick wooden shoes, so 
that her little instep became quite red, altogether red. 

In the middle of the village lived an old shoemaker's 
wife : she sat and sewed, as well as she could, a pair of 
little shoes, of old strips of red cloth ; they were clumsy 
enough, but well meant, and the little girl was to have 
them. The little girl's name was Karen. 

On the day when her mother was buried she received 
the red shoes and wore them for the first time. They were 
certainly not suited for mourning ; but she had no others, 
and therefore thrust her little bare feet into them and 
walked behind the plain deal coffin. 

Suddenly a great carriage came by, and in the carriage 
sat an old lady : she looked at the little girl and felt pity 
for her, and said to the clergyman, 

' Give me the little girl, and I will provide for her.' 

Karen thought this was for the sake of the shoes ; but 
the old lady declared they were hideous ; and they were 
burned. But Karen herself was clothed neatly and pro- 
perly : she was taught to read and to sew, and the people 
said she was agreeable. But her mirror said, ' You are 
much more than agreeable ; you are beautiful.' 

Once the Queen travelled through the country, and had 
her little daughter with her ; and the daughter was 
a Princess. And the people flocked towards the castle, and 
Karen too was among them ; and the little Princess stood 
in a fine white dress at a window, and let herself be gazed 
at. She had neither train nor golden crown, but she wore 
splendid red morocco shoes ; they were certainly far 
handsomer than those the shoemaker's wife had made 
for little Karen. Nothing in the world can compare with 
red shoes ! 

Now Karen was old enough to be confirmed : new clothes 
were made for her, and she was to have new shoes. The 
rich shoemaker in the town took the measure of her little 
feet ; this was done in his own house, in his little room, 
and there stood great glass cases with neat shoes and 


shining boots. It had quite a charming appearance, but 
the old lady could not see well, and therefore took no 
pleasure in it. Among the shoes stood a red pair, just like 
those which the Princess had worn. How beautiful they 
were ! The shoemaker also said they had been made for 
a Count's child, but they had not fitted. 

' That must be patent leather,' observed the old lady, 
' the shoes shine so ! ' 

' Yes, they shine ! ' replied Karen ; and they fitted her, 
and were bought. But the old lady did not know that 

they were red ; for she would never have allowed Karen 
to go to her confirmation in red shoes ; but that is what 
Karen did. 

Every one was looking at her shoes. And when she went 
up the floor of the church, towards the door of the choir, 
it seemed to her as if the old figures on the tombstones, the 
portraits of clergymen and clergymen's wives, in their stiff 
collars and long black garments, fixed their eyes upon her 
red shoes. And she thought of her shoes only, when the 
priest laid his hand upon her head and spoke holy words. 
And the organ pealed solemnly, the children sang with 
their fresh sweet voices, and the old precentor sang too ; 
but Karen thought only of her red shoes. 


In the afternoon the old lady was informed by every one 
that the shoes were red ; and she said it was naughty and 
unsuitable, and that when Karen went to church in future, 
she should always go in black shoes, even if they were old. 

Next Sunday was Sacrament Sunday. And Karen 
looked at the black shoes, and looked at the red ones — 
looked at them again — and put on the red ones. 

The sun shone gloriously ; Karen and the old lady went 
along the footpath through the fields, and it was rather 

By the church door stood an old invalid soldier with 
a crutch and a long beard ; the beard was rather red than 
white, for it was red altogether ; and he bowed down 
almost to the ground, and asked the old lady if he might 
dust her shoes. And Karen also stretched out her little 

' Look, what pretty dancing-shoes ! ' said the old soldier. 
' Fit so tightly when you dance ! ' 

And he tapped the soles with his hand. And the old 
lady gave the soldier an alms, and went into the church 
with Karen. 

And every one in the church looked at Karen's red 
shoes, and all the pictures looked at them. And while 
Karen knelt in the church she only thought of her red 
shoes ; and she forgot to sing her psalm, and forgot to say 
her prayer. 

Now all the people went out of church, and the old lady 
stepped into her carriage. Karen lifted up her foot to 
step in too ; then the old soldier said, 

' Look, what beautiful dancing-shoes ! ' 

And Karen could not resist : she was obliged to dance 
a few steps ; and when she once began, her legs went on 
dancing. It was just as though the shoes had obtained 
power over her. She danced round the corner of the church 
— she could not help it ; the coachman was obliged to 
run behind her and seize her : he lifted her into the carriage, 
but her feet went on dancing, so that she kicked the good 
old lady violently. At last they took off her shoes, and her 
legs became quiet. 

At home the shoes were put away in a cupboard ; but 
Karen could not resist looking at them. 


Now the old lady became very ill, and it was said she 
would not recover. She had to be nursed and waited on ; 
and this was no one's duty so much as Karen's. But there 
was to be a great ball in the town, and Karen was invited. 
She looked at the old lady who could not recover ; she 
looked at the red shoes, and thought there would be no 
harm in it. She put on the shoes, and that she might very 
well do ; but then she went to the ball and began to 

But when she wished to go to the right hand, the shoes 
danced to the left, and when she wanted to go upstairs 
the shoes danced downwards, down into the street and out 
at the town gate. She danced, and was obliged to dance, 
straight out into the dark wood. 

There was something glistening up among the trees, and 
she thought it was the moon, for she saw a face. But it 
was the old soldier with the red beard : he sat and nodded, 
and said, 

' Look, what beautiful dancing-shoes ! ' 

Then she was frightened, and wanted to throw away 
the red shoes ; but they clung fast to her. And she tore 
off her stockings ; but the shoes had grown fast to her feet. 
And she danced and was compelled to go dancing over 
field and meadow, in rain and sunshine, by night and by 
day ; but it was most dreadful at night. 

She danced into the open churchyard ; but the dead 
there did not dance ; they had something better to do. 
She wished to sit down on the poor man's grave, where 
the bitter tansy grows ; but there was no peace nor rest 
for her. And when she danced towards the open church 
door, she saw there an angel in long white garments, with 
wings that reached from his shoulders to his feet ; his 
countenance was serious and stern, and in his hand he held 
a sword that was broad and gleaming. 

' Thou shalt dance ! ' he said — ' dance in thy red shoes, 
till thou art pale and cold, and till thy body shrivels to 
a skeleton. Thou shalt dance from door to door ; and 
where proud, haughty children dwell, shalt thou knock, 
that they may hear thee, and be afraid of thee ! Thou 
shalt dance, dance ! ' 

* Mercy ! ' cried Karen. 


But she did not hear what the angel answered, for the 
shoes carried her away — carried her through the gate on 
to the field, over stock and stone, and she was always 
obliged to dance. 

One morning she danced past a door which she knew 
w^ell. There was a sound of psalm-singing within and 
a coffin was carried out, adorned with flowers. Then she 
knew that the old lady was dead, and she felt that she 
was deserted by all, and condemned by the angel of 

She danced, and was compelled to dance^to dance in the 
dark night. The shoes carried her on over thorn and brier ; 
she scratched herself till she bled ; she danced away across 
the heath to a little lonely house. Here she knew the execu- 
tioner dwelt ; and she tapped with her fingers on the panes, 
and called, 

' Come out, come out ! I cannot come in, for I must 
dance ! ' 

And the executioner said, 

' You probably don't know who I am ? I cut off the bad 
people's heads with my axe, and mark how my axe rings ! ' 

' Do not strike off my head,' said Karen, ' for if you do 
1 cannot repent of my sin. But strike off my feet with the 
red shoes ! ' 

And then she confessed all her sin, and the executioner 
cut off her feet with the red shoes ; but the shoes danced 
away with the little feet over the fields and into the deep 

And he cut her a pair of wooden feet, with crutches, 
and taught her a psalm, which the criminals always sing ; 
and she kissed the hand that had held the axe, and went 
away across the heath. 

' Now I have suffered pain enough for the red shoes,' 
said she. ' Now I will go into the church, that they may 
see me.' 

And she went quickly towards the church door ; but 
when she came there the red shoes danced before her, 
so that she was frightened, and turned back. 

The whole week through she was sorrowful, and wept 
many bitter tears ; but when Sunday came, she said, 

' Now I have suffered and striven enough ! I think 



that I am just as good as many of those who sit in the church 
and carry their heads high.' 

And then she went boldly on ; but she did not get farther 
than the churchyard gate before she saw the red shoes 
dancing along before her : then she was seized with terror, 
and turned back, and repented of her sin right heartily. 

And she went to the parsonage, and begged to be taken 

there as a servant. She promised to be industrious, and 
to do all she could ; she did not care for wages, and only 
wished to be under a roof and with good people. The 
clergyman's wife pitied her, and took her into her service. 
And she was industrious and thoughtful. Silently she sat 
and listened when in the evening the pastor read the 
Bible aloud. All the little ones were very fond of her ; 
but when they spoke of dress and splendour and beauty she 
would shake her head. 


Next Sunday they all went to church, and she was asked 
if she wished to go too ; but she looked sadly, with tears 
in her eyes, at her crutches. And then the others went to 
hear God's Word ; but she went alone into her little room, 
which was only large enough to contain her bed and a chair. 
And here she sat with her hymn-book ; and as she read 
it with a pious mind, the wind bore the notes of the organ 
over to her from the church ; and she lifted up her face, 
wet with tears, and said, 

' O Lord, help me ! ' 

Then the sun shone so brightly ; and before her stood 
the angel in white garments, the same she had seen that 
night at the church door. But he no longer grasped the 
sharp sword : he held a green branch covered with roses ; 
and he touched the ceiling, and it rose up high, and wherever 
he touched it a golden star gleamed forth ; and he touched 
the walls, and they spread forth widely, and she saw the 
organ which was pealing its rich sounds ; and she saw the old 
pictures of clergymen and their wives ; and the congrega- 
tion sat in the decorated seats, and sang from their hymn- 
books. The church had come to the poor girl in her narrow 
room, or her chamber had become a church. She sat in the 
pew with the rest of the clergyman's people ; and when 
they had finished the psalm, and looked up, they nodded 
and said, 

' That was right, that you came here, Karen.' 

* It was mercy ! ' said she. 

And the organ sounded its glorious notes ; and the 
children's voices singing in chorus sounded sweet and lovely ; 
the clear sunshine streamed so warm through the window 
upon the chair in which Karen sat ; and her heart became 
so filled with sunshine, peace, and joy, that it broke. Her 
soul flew on the sunbeams to heaven ; and there was 
nobody who asked after the Red Shoes. 



Have you ever seen a very old wooden cupboard, quite 
black with age, and ornamented with carved foliage and 
arabesques ? Just such a cupboard stood in a parlour ; 
it had been a legacy from the great-grandmother, and was 
covered from top to bottom with carved roses and tulips. 
There were the quaintest flourishes upon it, and from 
among these peered forth little stags' heads with antlers. 
In the middle of the cupboard door an entire figure of 
a man had been cut out : he was certainly ridiculous to 
look at, and he grinned, for you could not call it laughing : 
he had goat's legs, little horns on his head, and a long beard. 
The children in the room always called him the Billygoat- 
legs-Lieutenant-and -Major - General-War - Commander - Ser- 
geant ; that was a difficult name to pronounce, and there 
are not many who obtain this title ; but it was something 
to have cut him out. And there he was ! He was always 
looking at the table under the mirror, for on this table 
stood a lovely little Shepherdess made of china. Her 
shoes were gilt, her dress was neatly caught up with a red 
rose, and besides this she had a golden hat and a shepherd's 
crook : she was very lovely. Close by her stood a little 
Chimney-S weeper, black as a coal, but also made of porcelain : 
he was as clean and neat as any other man, for it was only 
make-believe that he was a sweep ; the china-workers 
might just as well have made a prince of him, if they had 
been so minded. 

There he stood very nattily with his ladder, and with 
a face as white and pink as a girl's ; and that was really 
a fault, for he ought to have been a little black. He stood 
quite close to the Shepherdess : they had both been placed 
where they stood ; but as they had been placed there 
they had become engaged to each other. They suited each 
other well. Both were young people, both made of the 
same kind of china, and both equally frail. 

Close to them stood another figure, three times greater 
than they. This was an old Chinaman, who could nod. 


He was also of porcelain, and declared himself to be the 
grandfather of the little Shepherdess ; but he could not 
prove his relationship. He declared he had authority over 
her, and that therefore he had nodded to Mr. Billygoat-legs- 
Lieutenant - and -Major- General- War-Commander-Sergeant, 
who was wooing her for his wife. 

' Then you will get a husband ! ' said the old Chinaman, 
« a man who I verily believe is made of mahogany. He 
can make you Billygoat-legs-Lieutenant-and-Major-General- 
War-Commander-Sergeantess : he has the whole cupboard 
full of silver plate, besides what he hoards up in secret 

' I won't go into the dark cupboard ! ' said the little 
Shepherdess. ' I have heard tell that he has eleven porcelain 
wives in there.' 

' Then you may become the twelfth,' cried the Chinaman. 
' This night, so soon as it creaks in the old cupboard, you 
shall be married, as true as I am an old Chinaman ! ' 

And with that he nodded his head and fell asleep. But 
the little Shepherdess wept and looked at her heart's 
beloved, the porcelain Chimney-Sweeper. 

' I should like to beg of you,' said she, ' to go out with me 
into the wide world, for we cannot remain here.' 

' I'll do whatever you like,' replied the little Chimney- 
sweeper. ' Let us start directly ! I think I can keep you 
by exercising my profession.' 

' If we were only safely down from the table ! ' said she. 
' I shall not be happy until we are out in the wide world.' 

And he comforted her, and showed her how she must 
place her little foot upon the carved corners and the 
gilded foliage down the leg of the table ; he brought his 
ladder, too, to help her, and they were soon together upon 
the floor. But when they looked up at the old cupboard 
there was great commotion within : all the carved stags 
were stretching out their heads, rearing up their antlers, 
and turning their necks ; and the Billygoat-legs-Lieutenant- 
and-Major-General-War-Commander-Sergeant sprang high 
in the air, and called across to the old Chinaman, 

' Now they're running away ! now they're running away ! ' 

Then they were a little frightened, and jumped quickly 
into the drawer of the window-seat. Here were three or 


four packs of cards which were not complete, and a little 
puppet-show, which had been built up as well as it could 
be done. There plays were acted, and all the ladies, dia- 
monds, clubs, hearts, and spades, sat in the first row, fanning 
themselves with their tulips ; and behind them stood all 
the knaves, showing that they had a head above and 
below, as is usual in playing-cards. The play was about two 
people who were not to be married to each other, and the 
Shepherdess wept, because it was just like her own history. 

' I cannot bear this ! ' said she. ' I must go out of the 

But when they arrived on the floor, and looked up at the 
table, the old Chinaman was awake and was shaking over 
his whole body — for below he was all one lump. 

' Now the old Chinaman 's coming 1 ' cried the little 
Shepherdess ; and she fell down upon her porcelain knee, 
so startled was she. 

' I have an idea,' said the Chimney-Sweeper. ' Shall 
we creep into the great pot-pourri vase which stands in the 
corner ? Then we can lie on roses and lavender, and throw 
salt in his eyes if he comes.' 

' That will be of no use,' she replied. ' Besides, I know 
that the old Chinaman and the pot-pourri vase were once 
engaged to each other, and a kind of liking always remains 
when people have stood in such a relation to each other. 
No, there 's nothing left for us but to go out into the wide 

' Have you really courage to go into the wide world 
with me ? ' asked the Chimney-Sweeper. ' Have you 
considered how wide the world is, and that we can never 
come back here again ? ' 

' I have,' replied she. 

And the Chimney-Sweeper looked fondly at her, and said, 

' My way is through the chimney. If you have really 
courage to creep with me through the stove — through the 
iron fire-box as well as up the pipe, then we can get out into 
the chimney, and I know how to find my way through there. 
We'll mount so high that they can't catch us, and quite 
at the top there 's a hole that leads out into the wide world. 

And he led her to the door of the stove. 

' It looks very black there,' said she ; but still she went 


with him, through the box and through the pipe, where 
it was pitch-dark night. 

* Now we are in the chimney,' said he ; ' and look, look ! 
up yonder a beautiful star is shining.' 

And it was a real star in the sky, which shone straight 
down upon them, as if it would show them the way. And 
they clambered and crept : it was a frightful way, and 
terribly steep ; but he supported her and helped her up ; 
he held her, and showed her the best places where she could 
place her little porcelain feet ; and thus they reached the 
edge of the chimney, and upon that they sat down, for they 
were desperately tired, as they well might be. 

The sky with all its stars was high above, and all the 
roofs of the town deep below them. They looked far around 
— ^far, far out into the world. The poor Shepherdess had 
never thought of it as it really was : she leaned her little 
head against the Chimney-Sweeper, then she wept so 
bitterly that the gold ran down off her girdle. 

' That is too much,' she said. ' I cannot bear that. 
The world is too large ! If I were only back upon the table 
below the mirror ! I shall never be happy until I am there 
again. Now I have followed you out into the wide world, 
you may accompany me back again if you really love me. 

And the Chimney-Sweeper spoke sensibly to her — spoke 
of the old Chinaman and of the Billygoat-legs -Lieutenant - 
and-Major-General-War-Commander-Sergeant ; but she 
sobbed bitterly and kissed her little Chimney-Sweeper, so 
that he could not help giving way to her, though it was 

And so with much labour they climbed down the chimney 
again. And they crept through the pipe and the fire-box. 
That was not pleasant at all. And there they stood in 
the dark stove ; there they listened behind the door, to 
find out what was going on in the room. Then it was quite 
quiet : they looked in — ah ! there lay the old Chinaman 
in the middle of the floor ! He had fallen down from the 
table as he was pursuing them, and now he lay broken 
into three pieces ; his back had come off all in one piece, 
and his head had rolled into a corner. The Billygoat-legs- 
Lieutenant - and - Major- General -War-Commander-Sergeant 
stood where he had always stood, considering. 


* That is terrible ! ' said the little Shepherdess. "The 

old grandfather has fallen to pieces, and it is our fault. I 

shall never survive it ! ' And then she wrung her little hands. 

' He can be mended ! he can be mended ! ' said the 

Chimney-Sweeper. Don't be so violent. If they glue 
his back together and give him a good rivet in his neck he 
will be as good as new, and may say many a disagreeable 
thing to us yet.' 

' Do you think so ? ' cried she. 


So they climbed back upon the table where they used 
to stand. 

' You see, we have come back to this,' said the Chimney- 
sweeper : ' we might have saved ourselves all the trouble 
we have had.' 

' If the old grandfather were only riveted ! ' said the 
Shepherdess. ' I wonder if that is dear ? ' 

And he was really riveted. The family had his back 
cemented, and a great rivet was passed through his neck : 
he was as good as new, only he could no longer nod. 

' It seems you have become proud since you fell to pieces,' 
said the Billygoat-legs-Lieutenant-and-Major-General-War- 
Gommander-Sergeant. ' I don't think you have any reason 
to give yourself such airs. Am I to have her, or am I not ? ' 

And the Chimney-Sweeper and the little Shepherdess 
looked at the old Chinaman most piteously, for they were 
afraid he might nod. But he could not do that, and it was 
irksome to him to tell a stranger that he always had a rivet 
in his neck. And so the porcelain people remained together, 
and they blessed Grandfather's rivet, and loved one another 
until they broke. 


It was terribly cold ; it snowed and was already almost 
dark, and evening came on, the last evening of the year. 
In the cold and gloom a poor little girl, bareheaded and 
barefoot, was walking through the streets. When she left 
her own house she certainly had had slippers on ; but of 
what use were they ? They were very big slippers, and 
her mother had used them till then, so big were they. The 
little maid lost them as she slipped across the road, where 
two carriages were rattling by terribly fast. One slipper 
was not to be found again, and a boy had seized the other, 
and run away with it. He said he could use it very well 
as a cradle, some day when he had children of his own. 
So now the little girl went with her little naked feet, which 
were quite red and blue with the cold. In an old apron 
she carried a number of matches, and a bundle of them 


in her hand. No one had bought anything of her all day, 
and no one had given her a farthing. 

Shivering with cold and hunger she crept along, a picture 
of misery, poor little girl ! The snowflakes covered her 
long fair hair, which fell in pretty curls over her neck ; 
but she did not think of that now. In all the windows 
lights were shining, and there was a glorious smell of roast 
goose, for it was New Year's Eve. Yes, she thought of 
that ! 

In a corner formed by two houses, one of which pro- 
jected beyond the other, she sat down, cowering. She had 
drawn up her little feet, but she was still colder, and she 
did not dare to go home, for she had sold no matches, and 
did not bring a farthing of money. From her father she 
would certainly receive a beating, and besides, it was cold 
at home, for they had nothing over them but a roof through 
which the wind whistled, though the largest rents had been 
stopped with straw and rags. 

Her little hands were almost benumbed with the cold. 
Ah ! a match might do her good, if she could only draw 
one from the bundle, and rub it against the wall, and warm 
her hands at it. She drew one out. R-r-atch ! how it 
sputtered and burned ! It was a warm, bright flame, like 
a little candle, when she held her hands over it ; it was a 
wonderful little light ! It really seemed to the little girl as 
if she sat before a great polished stove, with bright brass 
feet and a brass cover. How the fire burned ! how com- 
fortable it was ! but the little flame went out, the stove 
vanished, and she had only the remains of the burned 
match in her hand. 

A second was rubbed against the wall. It burned up, 
and when the light fell upon the wall it became transparent 
like a thin veil, and she could see through it into the 
room. On the table a snow-white cloth was spread ; upon 
it stood a shining dinner service ; the roast goose smoked 
gloriously, stuffed with apples and dried plums. And what 
was still more splendid to behold, the goose hopped down 
from the dish, and waddled along the floor, with a knife 
and fork in its breast, to the little girl. Then the match 
went out, and only the thick, damp, cold wall was before 
her. She lighted another match. Then she was sitting 



under a beautiful Christmas tree ; it was greater and more 
ornamented than the one she had seen through the glass 
door last Christmas at the rich merchant's. Thousands of 
candles burned upon the green branches, and coloured 
pictures like those in the print shops looked down upon 
them. The little girl stretched forth her hand towards 
them ; then the match went out. The Christmas lights 

mounted higher. She saw them now as stars in the sky : 
one of them fell down, forming a long line of fire. 

' Now some one is dying,' thought the little girl, for her 
old grandmother, the only person who had loved her, and 
who was now dead, had told her that when a star fell down 
a soul mounted up to God. 

She rubbed another match against the wall ; it became 
bright again, and in the brightness the old grandmother 
stood clear and shining, mild and lovely. 

' Grandmother ! ' cried the child. ' Oh ! take me with 
you ! I know you will go when the match is burned out. 


You will vanish like the warm fire, the beautiful roast 
goose, and the great glorious Christmas tree ! ' 

And she hastily rubbed the whole bundle of matches, for 
she wished to hold her grandmother fast. And the matches 
burned with such a glow that it became brighter than in 
the middle of the day ; grandmother had never been so 
large or so beautiful. She took the little girl in her arms, 
and both flew in brightness and joy above the earth, very, 
very high, and up there was neither cold, nor hunger, nor 
care — they were with God ! 

But in the comer, leaning against the wall, sat in the 
cold morning hours the poor girl with red cheeks and 
smiling mouth, frozen to death on the last evening of the 
Old Year. The New Year's sun rose upon a little corpse ! 
The child sat there, stiff and cold, with the matches of 
which one bundle was burned. ' She wanted to warm 
herself,' the people said. No one imagined what a beautiful 
thing she had seen, and in what glory she had gone in with 
her grandmother to the New Year's joy. 


Did you ever hear the story of the old Street Lamp ? It 
is not so remarkably entertaining, but it may be listened 
to for once in a way. 

It was a very honest old Lamp, that had done its work 
for many, many years, but which was now to be pensioned 
off. It hung for the last time to its post, and gave light 
to the street. It felt as an old dancer at the theatre, who 
is dancing for the last time, and who to-morrow will sit 
forgotten in her garret. The Lamp was in great fear about 
the morrow, for it knew that it was to appear in the council- 
house, and to be inspected by the mayor and the council, 
to see if it were fit for further service or not. 

And then it was to be decided whether it was to show 
its light in future for the inhabitants of some suburb, or 
in the country in some manufactory : perhaps it would have 
to go at once into an iron foundry to be melted down. 
In this last case an3i}hing might be made of it ; but the 
question whether it would remember, in its new state, that 


it had been a Street Lamp, troubled it terribly. Whatever 
might happen, this much was certain, that it would be 
separated from the watchman and his wife, whom it had 
got to look upon as quite belonging to its family. It became 
a lamp when he became a watchman. The wife was a little 
proud in those days. Only in the evening, when she went 
by, she deigned to glance at the Lamp ; in the daytime 
never. But now, in these latter years, when all three, the 
watchman, his wife, and the Lamp, had grown old, the wife 
had also tended it, cleaned it, and provided it with oil. The 
two old people were thoroughly honest ; never had they 
cheated the Lamp of a single drop of the oil provided for it. 

It was the Lamp's last night in the street, and to-morrow 
it was to go to the council-house ; — those were two dark 
thoughts ! No wonder that it did not burn brightly. But 
many other thoughts passed through its brain. On what 
a number of events had it shone — how much it had seen ! 
Perhaps as much as the mayor and the whole council had 
beheld. But it did not give utterance to these thoughts, 
for it was a good honest old Lamp, that would not willingly 
hurt any one, and least of all those in authority. Many 
things passed through its mind, and at times its light flashed 
up. In such moments it had a feeling that it, too, would 
be remembered. 

' There was that handsome young man — it is certainly 
a long while ago— he had a letter on pink paper with a gilt 
edge. It was so jDrettily written, as if by a lady's hand. 
Twice he read it, and kissed it, and looked up to me with 
eyes which said plainly, " I am the happiest of men ! " 
Only he and I know what was written in this first letter 
from his true love. Yes, I remember another pair of eyes. 
It is wonderful how our thoughts fly about ! There was 
a funeral procession in the street : the young beautiful 
lady lay in the decorated hearse, in a cofhn adorned with 
flowers and wreaths ; and a number of torches quite 
darkened my light. The people stood in crowds by the 
houses, and all followed the procession. But when the 
torches had passed from before my face, and I looked 
round, a single person stood leaning against my post, 
weeping. I shall never forget the mournful eyes that 
looked up to me ! ' 


This and similar thoughts occupied the old Street Lantern, 
which shone to-night for the last time. 

The sentry relieved from his post at least knows who is to 
succeed him, and may whisper a few words to him ; but 
the Lamp did not know its successor ; and yet it might have 
given a few useful hints with respect to rain and fog, and 
some information as to how far the rays of the moon lit 
up the pavement, and from what direction the wind usually 

On the bridge of the gutter stood three persons who 
wished to introduce themselves to the Lamp, for they 
thought the Lamp itself could appoint its successor. The 
first was a herring's head, that could gleam with light in 
the darkness. He thought it would be a great saving of 
oil if they put him up on the post. Number two was a piece 
of rotten wood, which also glimmers in the dark, and 
always more than a piece of fish, it said to itself ; besides, 
it was the last piece of a tree which had once been the pride 
of the forest. The third person was a glow-worm. Where 
this one had come from, the Lamp could not imagine ; but 
there it was, and it could give light. But the rotten wood 
and the herring's head swore by all that was good that it 
only gave light at certain times, and could not be brought 
into competition with themselves. 

The old Lamp declared that not one of them gave 
sufficient light to fill the office of a street lamp ; but not 
one of them would believe this. When they heard that the 
Lamp had not the office to give away, they were very glad 
of it, and declared that the Lamp was too decrepit to make 
a good choice. 

At the same moment the Wind came careering from the 
comer of the street, and blew through the air-holes of the 
old Street Lamp. 

' What 's this I hear ? ' he asked. ' Are you to go 
away to-morrow ? Is this the last evening that I shall 
find you here ? Then I must make you a present at 
parting. I will blow into your brain -box in such a way that 
you shall be able in future not only to remember everything 
you have seen and heard, but that you shall have such light 
within you as shall enable you to see all that is read of or 
spoken of in your presence.' 


' Yes, that is reallj^ much, very much ! ' said the old 
Lamp. ' I thank you heartily. I only hope I shall not be 
melted down.' 

' That is not likely to happen at once,' said the Wind. 
' Now I will blow up your memory : if you receive several 
presents of this kind, you may pass your old days very 

' If only I am not melted down ! ' said the Lamp again. 
' Or should I retain my memory even in that case ? ' 

' Be sensible, old Lamp,' said the Wind. And he blew, 
and at that moment the Moon stepped forth from behind 
the clouds. 

' What will you give the old Lamp ? ' asked the Wind. 

' I'll give nothing,' replied the Moon. ' I am on the 
wane, and the lamps never lighted me ; but, on the contrary, 
I've often given light for the lamps.' 

And with these words the Moon hid herself again behind 
the clouds, to be safe from further importunity. 

A drop now fell upon the Lamp, as if from the roof ; 
but the drop explained that it came from the clouds, and 
was a present — perhaps the best present possible. 

' I shall penetrate you so completely that you shall 
receive the faculty, if you wish it, to turn into rust in one 
night, and to crumble into dust.' 

The Lamp considered this a bad present, and the Wind 
thought so too. 

' Does no one give more ? does no one give more ? ' it 
blew as loud as it could. 

Then a bright shooting star fell down, forming a long 
bright stripe. 

' What was that ? ' cried the Herring's Head. ' Did 
not a star fall ? I really think it went into the Lamp ! 
Certainly if such high-born personages try for this office, 
we may say good night and betake ourselves home.' 

And so they did, all three. But the old Lamp shed 
a marvellous strong light around. 

' That was a glorious present,' it said. ' The bright stars 
which I have always admired, and which shine as I could 
never shine though I shone with all my might, have noticed 
me, a poor old lamp, and have sent me a present, by giving 
me the faculty that all I remember and see as clearly as if 


it stood before me, shall also be seen by all whom I love. 
And in this lies the true pleasure ; for joy that we cannot 
share with others is only half enjoyed.' 

' That sentiment does honour to your heart,' said the 
Wind. ' But for that wax lights are necessary. If these 
are not lit up in you, your rare faculties will be of no use to 
others. Look you, the stars did not think of that ; they 
take you and every other light for wax. But now I am 
tired and I will lie down.' And he lay down. 

The next day — yes, it will be best that we pass over the 
next day. The next evening the Lamp was resting in 
a grandfather's chair. And guess where ! In the watch- 
man's dwelling. He had begged as a favour of the mayor 
and the council that he might keep the Street Lamp. They 
laughed at his request, but the Lamp was given to him, and 
now it lay in the great arm-chair by the warm stove. It 
seemed as if the Lamp had grown bigger, now that it 
occupied the chair all alone. 

The old people sat at supper, and looked kindly at the 
old Lamp, to whom they would willingly have granted 
a place at their table. 

Their dwelling was certainly only a cellar two yards 
below the footway, and one had to cross a stone passage 
to get into the room. But within it was very comfortable 
and warm, and strips of list had been nailed to the door. 
Everything looked clean and neat, and there were curtains 
round the bed and the little windows. On the window-sill 
stood two curious flower-pots, which sailor Christian had 
brought home from the East or West Indies. They were 
only of clay, and represented two elephants. The backs 
of these creatures were wanting ; and instead of them 
there bloomed from within the earth with which one 
elephant was filled, some very excellent leeks, and that 
was the old folk's kitchen garden ; out of the other grew 
a great geranium, and that was their flower garden. On 
the wall hung a great coloured print representing the 
Congress of Vienna. There you had all the Kings and 
Emperors at once. A Grandfather's clock with heavy 
weights went ' tick ! tick ! ' and in fact it always went 
too fast ; but the old people declared this was far better 
than if it went too clow. They ate their supper, and the 


Street Lamp lay, as I have said, in the arm-chair close 
beside the stove. It seemed to the Lamp as if the whole 
world had been turned round. But when the old watchman 
looked at it, and spoke of all that they two had gone 
through in rain and in fog, in the bright short nights of 
summer and in the long winter nights, when the snow 
beat down, and one longed to be at home in the cellar, 
then the old Lamp found its wits again. It saw everything 
as clearly as if it was happening then ; yes, the Wind had 
kindled a capital light for it. 

The old people were very active and industrious ; not 
a single hour was wasted in idleness. On Sunday afternoon 
some book or other was brought out ; generally a book 
of travels. And the old man read aloud about Africa, 
about the great woods, with elephants running about wild ; 
and the old woman listened intently, and looked furtively 
at the clay elephants which served for flower-pots. 

' I can almost imagine it to myself ! ' said she. 

And the Lamp wished particularly that a wax candle 
had been there, and could be lighted up in it ; for then the 
old woman would be able to see everything to the smallest 
detail, just as the Lamp saw it — the tall trees with great 
branches all entwined, the naked black men on horseback, 
and whole droves of elephants crashing through the reeds 
with their broad clumsy feet. 

' Of what use are all my faculties if I can't obtain a wax 
light ? ' sighed the Lamp. ' They have only oil and tallow 
candles, and that 's not enough.' 

One day a great number of wax candle-ends came down 
into the cellar: the larger pieces were burned, and the smaller 
ones the old woman used for waxing her thread. So there 
were wax candles enough ; but no one thought of putting 
a little piece into the Lamp. 

' Here I stand with my rare faculties ! ' thought the 
Lamp. ' I carry everything within me, and cannot let them 
partake of it ; they don't know that I am able to cover 
these white walls with the most gorgeous tapestry, to 
change them into noble forests, and all that they can 
possibly wish.' 

The Lamp, however, was kept neat and clean, and stood 
all shining in a corner, where it caught the eyes of all. 


Strangers considered it a bit of old rubbish ; but the old 
people did not care for that ; they loved the Lamp. 

One day — it was the old watchman's birthday — the old 
woman approached the Lantern, smiling to herself, and said, 

' I'll make an illumination to-day, in honour of my old 
man ! ' 

And the Lamp rattled its metal cover, for it thought, 
' Well, at last there will be a light within me,' But only oil 
was produced, and no wax light appeared. The Lamp 
burned throughout the whole evening, but now understood, 
only too well, that the gift of the stars would be a hidden 
treasure for all its life. Then it had a dream : for one 
possessing its rare faculties, to dream was not difficult. It 
seemed as if the old people were dead, and that itself had 
been taken to the iron foundry to be melted down. It 
felt as much alarmed as on that day when it was to appear 
in the council-house to be inspected by the mayor and 
council. But though the power had been given to it to 
fall into rust and dust at will, it did not use this power. 
It was put into the furnace, and turned into an iron 
candlestick, as fair a candlestick as you would desire — one 
on which wax lights were to be burned. It had received 
the form of an angel holding a great nosegay ; and the wax 
light was to be placed in the middle of the nosegay. 

The candlestick had a place assigned to it on a green 
writing-table. The room was very comfortable ; many 
books stood round about the walls, which were hung with 
beautiful pictures ; it belonged to a poet. Everything 
that he wrote or composed showed itself round about him. 
The room was changed to thick dark forests, sometimes 
to beautiful meadows, where the storks strutted about, 
sometimes again to a ship sailing on the foaming ocean. 

' What faculties lie hidden in me ! ' said the old 
Lamp, when it awoke. ' I could almost wish to be 
melted down ! But no ! that must not be so long as the 
old people live. They love me for myself ; I am like a 
child to them ; they have cleaned me and have given me 
oil. I am as well off now as the whole Congress.' 

And from that time it enjoyed more inward peace ; and 
the honest old Street Lamp had well deserved to enjoy it, 



One would really have thought that something important 
was going on by the duck-pond ; but nothing was going on. 
All the ducks lying quietly upon the water, or standing on 
their heads in it — for they could do that — swam suddenly 
to the shore. One could see the traces of their feet on the 
wet clay, and their quacking sounded far and wide. The 
water, lately clear and bright as a mirror, was quite in 
a commotion. Before, every tree, every neighbouring bush, 
the old farm-house with the holes in the roof and the 
swallow's nest, and especially the great rose bush covered 
with flowers, had been mirrored in it. This rose bush 
covered the wall and hung over the water, in which every- 
thing appeared as in a picture, only that everything stood 
on its head ; but when the water was set in motion each 
thing ran into the other, and the picture was gone. Two 
feathers, which the fluttering ducks had lost, floated to 
and fro, and all at once they took a start, as if the wind 
were coming ; but the wind did not come, so they had to 
be still, and the water became quiet and smooth again. 
One could see distinctly the gable, with the swallow's nest, 
and the rose bush. The Roses mirrored themselves in it 
again ; they were beautiful, but they did not know it, 
for no one had told them. The sun shone among the 
delicate leaves ; everything breathed in the sweet fragrance, 
and all felt as we feel when we are filled with the thought 
of our greatest happiness. 

' How beautiful is hfe ! ' said each Rose. * Only one 
thing I wish, that I were able to kiss the sun, because it 
is so bright and so warm. The roses, too, in the water 
yonder, our images, I should like to kiss, and the pretty birds 
in the nests. There are some up yonder too ; they thrust 
out their heads and pipe quite feebly : they have no 
feathers like their father and mother. They are good 
neighbours, below and above. How beautiful is life ! ' 

The young ones above and below — those below are 
certainly only shadows in the water — were Sparrows ; 
their parents were Sparrows too ; they had taken possession 
of the empty swallow's nest of last year, and kept house in 
it as if it had been their own. 


' Are those ducks' children swimming yonder ? ' asked 
the young Sparrows, when they noticed the ducks' feathers 
upon the water. 

' If you must ask questions, ask sensible ones,' replied 
their mother. ' Don't you see that they are feathers ? 
living clothes, stuff like I wear and like you will wear ; 
but ours is finer. I wish, by the way, we had those up here 
in our own nest, for they keep one warm. I wonder what 
the ducks were so frightened at ; there must have been 
something in the water. Not at me, certainly, though 
I said " Piep " to you rather loudly. The thick-headed 
roses ought to know it, but they know nothing ; they only 
look at one another and smell. I'm very tired of those 

' Just listen to those darling birds up there,' said the 
Roses. ' They begin to want to sing, but are not able yet. 
But it will come in time. What a pleasure that must be ! 
It 's nice to have such merry neighbours.' 

Suddenly two horses came gallopping up to water. A 
peasant boy rode on one, and he had taken off all his clothes, 
except his big black hat which was so big and broad. The 
boy whistled like a bird, and rode into the pond where 
it was deepest, and when he came past the rose bush he 
plucked a rose, and put it upon his hat. And now he 
thought he looked very fine, and rode on. The other Roses 
looked after their sister, and said to each other, ' Whither 
may she be journeying ? ' but they did not know. 

' I should like to go out into the world,' said the one 
to the other ; ' but it 's beautiful, too, here at home among 
the green leaves. All day the sun shines warm and bright, 
and in the night-time the sky is more beautiful still ; we 
can see that through all the little holes in it.' 

They meant the stars, but they knew no better. 

' We make it lively about the house,' said the Mother- 
Sparrow ; ' and " the swallow's nest brings luck ", people 
say, so they're glad to see us. But the neighbours ! Such 
a rose bush climbing up the wall causes damp. It will 
most likely be taken away ; and then, at least, corn will 
perhaps grow here. The roses are fit for nothing but to be 
looked at and smelt, or at most one may be stuck on 
a hat. Every year, I Imow from my mother, they fall off. 


The farmer's wife preserves them, and puts salt among 
them ; then they get a French name that I neither can nor 
will pronounce, and are put upon the fire to make a good 
smell. You see, that 's their life. They're only for the 
eye and the nose. Now you know it.' 

When the evening came, and the gnats danced in the 
warm air and the red clouds, the Nightingale came and 
sang to the Roses, saying that the beautiful was like 
sunshine to the world, and that the beautiful lived for ever. 
But the Roses thought the Nightingale was singing of 
itself, and indeed one might easily have thought so ; they 
never imagined that the song was about them. But they 
rejoiced greatly in it, and wondered whether all the little 
Sparrows might become nightingales. 

' I understood the song of that bird very well,' said the 
young Sparrows, ' only one word was not clear. What is 
the beautiful 1 ' 

' That 's nothing at all,' replied the Mother-Sparrow ; 
' that 's only an outside affair. Yonder, at the nobleman's 
seat, where the pigeons have their own house, and have 
corn and peas strewn before them every day, — I've been 
there myself, and dined with them ; for tell me what 
company you keep, and I'll tell you who you are — yonder 
at the nobleman's seat there are two birds with green necks 
and a crest upon their head ; they can spread out their tails 
like a great wheel, and then it plays with various colours, 
so that the sight makes one's eyes ache. These birds 
are called peacocks, and that 's the beautiful. They should 
only be plucked a little, then they would look no better 
than all the rest of us. I should have plucked them myself 
if they had not been so large.' 

' I'll pluck them,' piped the little Sparrow who had no 
feathers yet. 

In the farm-house dwelt two young married people ; 
they loved each other well, were industrious and active, 
and everything in their home looked very pretty. On 
Sunday morning the young wife came out, plucked a hand- 
ful of the most beautiful roses, and put them into a glass 
of water, which she put upon the cupboard. 

' Now I see that it is Sunday,' said the husband, and he 
kissed his little wife. 


They sat down, read their hymn-book, and held each 
other by the hand ; and the sun shone on the fresh roses 
and the young couple. 

' This sight is really too wearisome,' said the Mother- 
Sparrow, who could look from the nest into the room ; 
and she flew away. 

The same thing happened the next Sunday, for every 
Sunday fresh roses were placed in the glass ; but the rose 
bush bloomed as beautiful as ever. 

The young Sparrows had feathers now, and wanted to 
fly out too, but the mother would not allow it, and they 
were obliged to stay at home. She flew alone ; but, however 
it may have happened, before she was aware of it, she was 
entangled in a noose of horse -hair which some boys had 
fastened to the branches. The horse-hair wound itself 
fast round her legs, as fast as if it would cut the leg through. 
What pain, what a fright she was in ! 

The boys came running up, and seized the bird ; and 
indeed, roughly enough. 

' It 's only a Sparrow,' said they ; but they did not let 
her go, but took her home with them. And whenever she 
cried, they tapped her on the beak. 

In the farm-house stood an old man, who understood 
making soap for shaving and washing, in cakes as well as 
in balls. He was a merry, wandering old man. When he 
saw the Sparrow, which the boys had brought, and for which 
they said they did not care, he said, 

' Shall we make it very beautiful 1 ' 

The Mother-Sparrow felt an icy shudder pass through her. 

Out of the box, in which were the most brilliant colours, 
the old man took a quantity of shining gold leaf, and the 
boys were sent for some white of egg, with which the Sparrow 
was completely smeared ; the gold leaf was stuck upon 
that, and there was the Mother-Sparrow gilded all over. 
She did not think of the adornment, but trembled all over. 
And the soap-man tore off a fragment from the red lining 
of his old jacket, cut notches in it, so that it looked like 
a cock's comb, and stuck it on the bird's head. 

' Now you shall see the gold bird fly,' said the old man ; 
and he released the Sparrow, which flew away in deadly 
fear, with the sunlight shining upon her. 


How it glittered ! All the Sparrows, and even a Crow, 
a knowing old boy, were startled at the sight ; but still 
they flew after her, to know what kind of strange bird 
this might be. 

' From where, from where ? ' cried the Crow. 

' Wait a bit, wait a bit ! ' said the Sparrows, but it would 
not wait. 

Driven by fear and horror, she flew homeward ; she was 
nearly sinking powerless to the earth ; the flock of pursuing 
birds increased, and some even tried to peck at her. 

' Look at her ! look at her ! ' they all cried. 

' Look at her ! look at her ! ' cried the young ones, 
when the Mother-Sparrow approached the nest. ' That 
must be a young peacock. He glitters with all colours. It 
quite hurts one's eyes, as mother told us. Piep ! that 's 
the beautiful ! ' 

And now they pecked at the bird with their little beaks, 
so that she could not possibly get into the nest ; she was 
so much exhausted that she could not even say ' Piep ! ' 
much less ' I am your mother ! ' 

The other birds also fell upon the Sparrow, and plucked 
off feather after feather till she fell bleeding into the rose 

' You poor creature ! ' said all the Roses : ' be quiet, and 
we will hide you. Lean your head against us.' 

The Sparrow spread out her wings once more, then drew 
them tight to her body, and lay dead by the neighbouring 
family, the beautiful fresh Roses. 

' Piep 1 ' sounded from the nest. ' Where can our mother 
be ? It 's quite inexplicable. It cannot be a trick of hers, 
and mean that we're to shift for ourselves : she has left 
us the house as an inheritance, but to which of us shall it 
belong when we have families of our own 1 ' 

' Yes, it won't do for you to stay with me when I enlarge 
my establishment with a wife and children,' observed the 

' I shall have more wives and children than you ! ' cried 
the second. 

' But I am the eldest ! ' said the third. 

Now they all became excited. They struck out with their 
wings, hacked with their beaks, and flump ! one after another 


was thrust out of the nest. There they lay with their anger, 
holding their heads on one side, and blinking with the 
eye that looked upwards. That was their way of being 

They could fly a little ; by practice they improved, and 
at last they fixed upon a sign by which they should know 
each other when they met later in the world. This sign 
was to be the cry of ' Piep ! ' with a scratching of the left 
foot three times against the ground. 

The young Sparrow that had remained behind in the nest 
made itself as broad as it possibly could, for it was the 
proprietor. But the proprietorship did not last long. In 
the night the red fire burst through the window, the flames 
seized upon the roof, the dry straw blazed brightly up, and 
the whole house was burned, and the young Sparrow too ; 
but the others escaped with their lives. 

When the sun rose again, and everything looked as much 
refreshed as if nature had had a quiet sleep, there remained 
of the farm-house nothing but a few charred beams, leaning 
against the chimney that was now its own master. Thick 
smoke still rose from among the fragments, but without 
stood the rose bush quite unharmed, and every flower, 
every twig, was reflected in the clear water. 

' How beautifully those roses bloom before the ruined 
house ! ' cried a passer-by. ' I cannot imagine a more 
agreeable picture : I must have that.' 

And the traveller took out of his portfolio a little book with 
white leaves : he was a painter, and with his pencil he drew 
the smoking house, the charred beams, and the overhanging 
chimney, which bent more and more ; quite in the foreground 
appeared the blooming rose bush, whichpresented a charming 
sight, and indeed for its sake the whole picture had been 

Later in the day, the two Sparrows that had been born 
here came by. 

' Where is the house ? ' asked they. ' Where is the nest ? 
Piep ! All is burned, and our strong brother is burned too. 
That 's what he has got by keeping the nest to himself. 
The Roses have escaped well enough — there they stand 
yet, with their red cheeks. They certainly don't mourn 
at their neighbour's misfortune. I won't speak to them ; 


it 's so ugly here, that 's my opinion.' And they flew up 
and away. 

On a beautiful sunny autumn day, when one could almost 
have believed it was the middle of summer, there hopped 
about in the clean dry courtyard of the nobleman's seat, 
in front of the great steps, a number of pigeons, black, and 
white, and violet, all shining in the sunlight. The old 
Mother-Pigeons said to their young ones, 

' Stand in groups, stand in groups, for that looks much 

' What are those little grey creatures, that run about 
among us ? ' asked an old Pigeon, with red and green in her 
eyes. ' Little grey ones, little grey ones ! ' she cried. 

' They are sparrows, good creatures. We have always 
had the reputation of being kind, so we will allow them to 
pick up the corn with us. They don't interrupt conversation, 
and they scrape so nicely with the leg.' 

Yes, they scraped three times each with the left leg, and 
said, ' Piep.' By that they recognized each other as the 
Sparrows from the nest by the burned house. 

' Here 's very good eating,' said the Sparrows. 

The Pigeons strutted round one another, bulged out their 
chests mightily, and had their own opinions. 

' Do you see that pouter-pigeon ? ' said one, speaking to 
the others. ' Do you see that one, swallowing the peas ? 
She takes too many, and the best, moreover. Curoo ! curoo ! 
Do you see how bald she is getting on her crest, the ugly 
spiteful thing ! Curoo ! curoo ! ' 

And all their eyes sparkled with spite. 

' Stand in groups, stand in groups ! Little grey ones, 
little grey ones ! Curoo ! curoo ! ' 

So their beaks went on and on, and so they will go on 
when a thousand years are gone. 

The Sparrows feasted bravely. They listened attentively, 
and even stood in the ranks of the Pigeons, but it did not 
suit them well. They were satisfied, and so they quitted 
the Pigeons, exchanged opinions concerning them, slipped 
under the garden railings, and when they found the door 
of the garden open, one of them, who was over-fed, and 
consequently valorous, hopped on the threshold. 

' Piep ! ' said he, ' I may venture that.' 


' Piep ! ' said the other, 'so can I, and something more too.' 

And he hopped right into the room. No one was present ; 
the third Sparrow saw that, and hopped still farther into 
the room, and said, 

' Right in or not at all ! By the way, this is a funny 
man's -nest ; and what have they put up there ? What 's 
that ? ' 

Just in front of the Sparrows the roses were blooming ; 
they were mirrored in the water, and the charred beams 
leaned against the toppling chimney. 

' Why, what is this ? How came this in the room in the 
nobleman's house ? ' 

And then these Sparrows wanted to ^y over the chimney 
and the roses, but flew against a flat wall. It was all 
a picture, a great beautiful picture, that the painter had 
completed from a sketch. 

' Piep ! ' said the Sparrows, ' it 's nothing, it only looks 
like something. Piep ! that 's the beautiful ! Can you 
understand it ? / can't.' 

And they flew away, for some people came into the 

Days and years went by. The Pigeons had often cooed, 
not to say growled, — the spiteful things ; the Sparrows had 
suffered cold in winter, and lived riotously in summer ; 
they were all betrothed or married, or whatever you like 
to call it. They had little ones, and of course each thought 
his own the handsomest and the cleverest : one flew this 
way, another that, and when they met they knew each 
other by their ' Piep ! ' and the three scrapes with the left 
leg. The eldest had remained a maiden Sparrow, with no 
nest and no young ones. Her great idea was to see a 
town, therefore she flew to Copenhagen. 

There was to be seen a great house painted with many 
colours, close by the castle and by the canal, in which 
latter swam many ships laden with apples and pottery. 
The windows were broader below than at the top, and when 
the Sparrows looked through, every room appeared to 
them like a tulip with the most beautiful colours and 
shades. But in the middle of the tulip were white people, 
made of marble ; a few certainly were made of plaster, but 
in the eyes of a sparrow that 's all the same. Upon the roof 


stood a metal carriage, with metal horses harnessed to it, 
and the Goddess of Victory, also of bronze, driving. It was 
Thorwaldsen's Museum. 

' How it shines ! how it shines ! ' said the little maiden 
Sparrow. ' I suppose that 's what they call the beautiful. 
Piep ! But this is greater than the peacock ! ' 

It still remembered what, in its days of childhood, the 
Mother-Sparrow had declared to be the greatest among 
the beautiful. The Sparrow flew down into the courtyard. 
There everything was very splendid : upon the walls 
palms and branches were painted ; in the midst of the 
court stood a great blooming rose tree, spreading out its 
fresh branches, covered with many roses, over a grave. 
Thither the Sparrow flew, for there she saw many of her 
own kind. ' Piep ! ' and three scrapes with the left leg — 
that salutation it had often made throughout the summer, 
and nobody had replied, for friends who are once parted 
don't meet every day ; and now this form of greeting had 
become quite a habit with it. But to-day two old Sparrows 
and a young one replied ' Piep ! ' and scraped three times 
each with the left leg. 

' Ah ! good day ! good day ! ' They were three old ones 
from the nest, and a little one belonging to the family. 
' Do we meet here again ? It 's a grand place, but there 's 
not much to eat. This is the beautiful ! Piep ! ' 

And many people came out of the side chambers where 
the glorious marbie statues stood, and approached the 
grave where slept the great master who had formed these 
marble images. All stood with radiant faces by Thor- 
waldsen's grave, and some gathered up the fallen rose leaves 
and kept them. They had come from afar : some from 
mighty England, others from Germany and France. The 
most beautiful among the ladies plucked one of the roses 
and hid it in her bosom. Then the Sparrows thought that 
the roses ruled here, and that the whole house had been 
built for their sake ; that appeared to them to be too much ; 
but as all the people showed their love for the roses, they 
would not be behindhand. ' Piep ! ' they said, and swept 
the ground with their tails, and glanced with one eye at the 
roses ; and they had not looked long at the flowers before 
they recognized them as old neighbours. And so the roses 


really were. The painter who had sketched the rose bush 
by the ruined house had afterwards received permission to 
dig it up, and had given it to the architect, for nowhere 
could more beautiful roses be found. And the architect 
had planted it upon Thorwaldsen's grave, where it bloomed, 
an image of the beautiful, and gave its red fragrant petals 
to be carried into distant lands as mementoes. 

' Have you found a situation here in the town ? ' asked 
the Sparrows. 

And the Roses nodded ; they recognized their grey 
neighbours, and were glad to see them again. ' How 
glorious it is to live and bloom, to see old faces again, and 
cheerful faces every day. Here it is as if every day was 
a great holiday. 

' Piep ! ' said the Sparrows. ' Yes, these are truly our 
old neighbours ; we remember their origin by the pond. 
Piep ! how they've got on ! Yes, some people succeed 
while they're asleep, and what rarity there is in a red 
thing like that, I can't understand. Why, yonder is a 
withered leaf — I see it quite plainly ! ' 

And they pecked at it till the leaf fell. But the tree stood 
there greener and fresher than ever ; the Roses bloomed 
in the sunshine by Thorwaldsen's grave, and were associated 
with his immortal name. 


In the hot countries the sun burns very strongly ; there 
the people become quite mahogany brown, and in the very 
hottest countries they are even burned into negroes. But 
this time it was only to the hot countries that a learned 
man out of the cold regions had come. He thought he could 
roam about there just as he had been accustomed to do 
at home ; but he soon altered his opinion. He and all 
sensible people had to remain at home, where the window- 
shutters and doors were shut all day long, and it looked 
as if all the inmates were asleep or had gone out. The 
narrow street with the high houses in which he lived was, 

AND. F. T. L 3 


however, built in such a way that the sun shone upon it 
from morning till evening ; it was really quite unbearable ! 
The learned man from the cold regions was a young man 
and a clever man : it seemed to him as if he was sitting in 
a glowing oven that exhausted him greatly, and he became 
quite thin ; even his Shadow shrivelled up and became 
much smaller than it had been at home ; the sun even 
told upon it, and it did not recover till the evening, when 
the sun went down. It was really a pleasure to see this. 
So soon as a light was brought into the room the Shadow 
stretched itself quite up the wall, farther even than the 
ceiling, so tall did it make itself ; it was obliged to stretch 
to get strength again. The learned man went out into the 
balcony to stretch himself, and as soon as the stars came 
out in the beautiful clear sky, he felt himself reviving. On 
all the balconies in the streets — and in the hot countries 
there is a balcony to every window — people now appeared, 
for one must breathe fresh air, even if one has got used to 
being mahogany ; then it became lively above and below ; 
the shoemakers and tailors and everybody sat below in the 
street ; then tables and chairs were brought out, and 
candles burned, yes, more than a thousand candles ; one 
talked and another sang, and the people walked to and fro ; 
carriages drove past, mules trotted, ' Kling-ling-ling ! ' for 
they had bells on their harness ; dead peoj^le were buried 
with solemn songs ; the church bells rang, and it was 
indeed very lively in the street. Only in one house, just 
opposite to that in which the learned man dwelt, it was 
quite quiet, and yet somebody lived there, for there were 
flowers upon the balcony, blooming beautifully in the hot 
sun, and they could not have done this if they had not been 
watered, so that some one must have watered them ; 
therefore, there must be people in that house. Towards 
evening the door was half opened, but it was dark, at least 
in the front room ; farther back, in the interior, music 
was heard. The strange learned man thought this music 
very lovely, but it was quite possible that he only imagined 
this, for out there in the hot countries he found everything 
exquisite, if only there had been no sun. The stranger's 
landlord said that he did not know who had taken the 
opposite house — one saw nobody there, and so far as the 


music was concerned, it seemed very monotonous to 

' It was just,' he said, ' as if some one sat there, always 
practising a piece that he could not manage — always the 
same piece. He seemed to say, " I shall manage it, after 
all ; " but he did not manage it, however long he 

The stranger was asleep one night. He slept with the 
balcony door open : the wind lifted up the curtain before 
it, and he fancied that a wonderful radiance came from 
the balcony of the house opposite ; all the flowers appeared 
like flames of the most gorgeous colours, and in the midst, 
among the flowers, stood a beautiful slender maiden : it 
seemed as if a radiance came from her also. His eyes were 
quite dazzled ; but he had only opened them too wide 
just when he awoke out of his sleep. With one leap he was 
out of bed ; quite quietly he crept behind the curtain ; but 
the maiden was gone, the splendour was gone, the flowers 
gleamed no longer, but stood there as beautiful as ever. 
The door was ajar, and from within sounded music, so lovely, 
so charming, that one fell into sweet thought at the sound. 
It was just like magic work. But who lived there ? Where 
was the real entrance ? for towards the street and towards 
the lane at the side the whole ground floor was shop by 
shop, and the people could not always run through 

One evening the stranger sat up on his balcony ; in the 
room just behind him a light was burning, and so it was 
quite natural that his Shadow fell upon the wall of the 
opposite house ; yes, it sat just among the flowers on the 
balcony, and when the stranger moved his Shadow moved 

' I think my Shadow is the only living thing we see yonder,' 
said the learned man. ' Look how gracefully it sits among 
the flowers. The door is only ajar, but the Shadow ought 
to be sensible enough to walk in and look round, and then 
come back and tell me what it has seen.' 

' Yes, you would thus make yourself very useful,' said he, 
in sport. ' Be so good as to slip in. Now, will you go ? ' And 
then he nodded at the Shadow, and the Shadow nodded 
back at him. ' Now go, but don't stay away altogether.' 


And the stranger stood up, and the Shadow on the balcony 
opposite stood up too, and the stranger turned round, 
and the Shadow turned also, and if any one had noticed 
closely he would have remarked how the Shadow went 
away in the same moment, straight through the half- 
opened door of the opposite house, as the stranger returned 
into his room and let the curtain fall. 

Next morning the learned man went out to drink coffee 
and read the papers. 

' What is this ? ' said he, when he came out into the 
sunshine. ' I have no Shadow ! So it really went away 
yesterday evening, and did not come back : that 's very 

And that fretted him, but not so much because the Shadow 
was gone as because he knew that there was a story of 
a man without a shadow. All the people in the cold lands 
knew this story, and if the learned man came home and 
told his own history, they would say that it was only an 
imitation, and he did not choose that they should say this 
of him. So he would not speak of it at all, and that was 
a very sensible idea of his. 

In the evening he again went out on his balcony : he 
had placed the light behind him, for he knew that a shadow 
always wants its master for a screen, but he could not coax 
it forth. He made himself little, he made himself long, but 
there was no shadow, and no shadow came. He said, 
' Here, here ! ' but that did no good. 

That was vexatious, but in the warm countries every- 
thing grows very quickly, and after the lapse of a week he 
remarked to his great joy that a new shadow was growing 
out of his legs when he went into the sunshine, so that the 
root must have remained behind. After three weeks he 
had quite a respectable shadow, which, when he started 
on his return to the North, grew more and more, so that at 
last it was so long and great that he could very well have 
parted with half of it. 

When the learned man got home he wrote books about 
what is true in the world, and what is good, and what is 
pretty ; and days went by, and years went by, many 

He was one evening sitting in his room when there came 


a little quiet knock at the door. ' Come in ! ' said he ; but 
nobody came. Then he opened the door, and there stood 
before him such a remarkably thin man that he felt quite 
uncomfortable. This man was, however, very respectably 
dressed ; he looked like a man of standing. 

' Whom have I the honour to address ? ' asked the 

' Ah ! ' rephed the genteel man, ' I thought you would 
not know me ; I have become so much a body that I have 
got real flesh and clothes. You never thought to see me 
in such a condition. Don't you know your old Shadow? 
You certainly never thought that I would come again. 
Things have gone remarkably well with me since I was 
with you last. I've become rich in every respect : if I 
want to buy myself free from servitude I can do it ! ' 

And he rattled a number of valuable charms, which hung 
by his watch, and put his hand upon the thick gold chain 
he wore round his neck ; and how the diamond rings 
glittered on his fingers ! and everything was real ! 

' No, I cannot regain my self-possession at all ! ' said the 
learned man. ' What 's the meaning of all this ? ' 

' Nothing common,' said the Shadow. ' But you yourself 
don't belong to common folks ; and I have, as you very well 
know, trodden in your footsteps from my childhood up- 
wards. So soon as you thought that I was experienced 
enough to find my way through the world alone, I went away. 
I am in the most brilliant circumstances ; but I was seized 
with a kind of longing to see you once more before you die, 
and I wanted to see these regions once more, for one 
always thinks much of one's fatherland. I know that you 
have got another shadow : have I anything to pay to it, 
or to you ? You have only to tell me.' 

' Is it really you ? ' said the learned man. ' Why, 
that is wonderful ! I should never have thought that I 
should ever meet my old Shadow as a man ! ' 

' Only tell me what I have to pay,' said the Shadow, 
' for I don't like to be in any one's debt.' 

' How can you talk in that way ? ' said the learned man. 
* Of what debt can there be a question here ? You are as 
free as any one ! I am exceedingly pleased at your good 
fortune ! Sit down, old friend, ancl tell me a little how it 


has happened, and what you saw in the warm countries, 
and in the house opposite ours.' 

' Yes, that I will tell you,' said the Shadow ; and it sat 
down. ' But then you must promise me never to tell any 
one in this town, when you meet me, that I have been your 
Shadow ! I have the intention of engaging myself to be 
married ; I can do more than support a family.' 

' Be quite easy,' replied the learned man ; ' I will tell 
nobody who you really are. Here 's my hand. I promise 
it, and my word 's as good as my bond.' 

' A Shadow's word in return ! ' said the Shadow, for he 
was obliged to talk in that way. But, by the way, it was 
quite wonderful how complete a man he had become. He 
was dressed all in black, and wore the very finest black 
cloth, polished boots, and a hat that could be crushed to- 
gether till it was nothing but crown and rim, besides what 
we have already noticed of him, namely, the charms, the 
gold neck-chain, and the diamond rings. The Shadow was 
indeed wonderfully well clothed ; and it was just this that 
made a complete man of him. 

' Now I will tell you,' said the Shadow ; and then he put 
down his polished boots as firmly as he could on the arm 
of the learned man's new shadow that lay like a poodle 
dog at his feet. This was done perhaps from pride, perhaps 
so that the new shadow might stick to his feet ; but the 
prostrate shadow remained quite quiet, so that it might 
listen well, for it wanted to know how one could get free 
and work up to be one's own master. 

' Do you know who lived in the house opposite to us ? ' 
asked the Shadow. ' That was the most glorious of all ; 
it was Poetry ! I was there for three weeks, and that was 
just as if one had lived there a thousand years, and could 
read all that has been written and composed. For this I 
say, and it is truth, I have seen everything, and I know 
everything ! ' 

' Poetry ! ' cried the learned man. ' Yes, she often lives 
as a hermit in great cities. Poetry ! Yes, I myself saw her 
for one single brief moment, but sleep was heavy on my 
eyes : she stood on the balcony, gleaming as the Northern 
Light gleams. Tell me ! tell me ! You were upon the 
balcony. You went through the door, and then ' 


' Then I was in the ante -room,' said the Shadow. * You 
sat opposite, and were always looking across at the ante- 
room. There was no light ; a kind of twilight reigned there ; 
but one door after another in a whole row of halls and 
rooms stood open, and there it was light ; and the mass of 
light would have killed me if I had got as far as to where 
the maiden sat. But I was deliberate, I took my time ; and 
that 's what one must do.' 

' And what didst thou see then ? ' asked the learned 

' I saw everything, and I will tell you what ; but — it is 
really not pride on my part — as a free man, and with the 
acquirements I possess, besides my good position and my 
remarkable fortune, I wish you would say you to me.' 

' I beg your pardon,' said the learned man. ' This thou 
is an old habit, and old habits are difficult to alter. You 
are perfectly right, and I will remember it. But now tell 
me everything you saw.' 

' Everything,' said the Shadow ; ' for I saw everything, 
and I know everything.' 

' How did things look in the inner room ? ' asked the 
learned man. ' Was it there as in the fresh wood ? Was 
it there as in a holy temple ? Were the chambers like the 
starry sky, when one stands on the high mountains ? ' 

' Everything was there,' said the Shadow. ' I was cer- 
tainly not quite inside ; I remained in the front room, 
in the darkness ; but I stood there remarkably well. I 
saw everything and know everything. I have been in the 
ante-room at the Court of Poetry.' 

' But what did you see \ Did all the gods of antiquity 
march through the halls ? Did the old heroes fight 
there ? Did lovely children play there, and relate their 
dreams ? ' 

' I tell you that I have been there, and so you will easily 
understand that I saw everything that was to be seen. If 
you had got there you would not have become a man ; 
but I became one, and at the same time I learned to under- 
stand my inner being and the relation in which I stood 
to Poetry. Yes, when I was with you I did not think of 
these things ; but you know that whenever the sun rises 
or sets I am wonderfully great. In the moonshine I was 


almost more noticeable than you yourself. I did not then 
understand my inward being ; in the ante -room it was 
revealed to me. I became a man ! I came out ripe. But 
you were no longer in the warm countries. I was ashamed 
to go about as a man in the state I was then in : I required 
boots, clothes, and all this human varnish by which a man 
is known. I hid myself ; yes, I can confide a secret to you 
— you will not put it into a book. I hid myself under the 
cake-woman's gown ; the woman had no idea how much 
she concealed. Only in the evening did I go out : I ran 
about the streets by moonlight ; I stretched myself quite 
long up the wall : that tickled my back quite agreeably. 
I ran up and down, looked through the highest windows 
into the halls and through the roof, where nobody could see, 
and I saw what nobody saw and what nobody ought to 
see. On the whole it is a despicable world : I would not 
be a man if it were not commonly supposed that it is some- 
thing to be one. I saw the most incredible things going 
on among men, and women, and parents, and " dear 
incomparable children ". I saw what no one else knows, 
but what they all v/ould be very glad to know, namely, 
bad goings on at their neighbours'. If I had written a news- 
paper, how it would have been read ! But I wrote directly 
to the persons interested, and there was terror in every 
town to which I came. They were so afraid of me that they 
were remarkably fond of me. The professor made me 
a professor ; the tailor gave me new clothes (I am well 
provided) ; the mint-master coined money for me ; the 
women declared I was handsome : and thus I became the 
man I am. And now, farewell ! Here is my card ; I live 
on the sunny side, and am always at home in rainy 

And the Shadow went away. 

' That was very remarkable,' said the learned man. 

Years and days passed by, and the Shadow came again. 

' How goes it ? ' he asked. 

' Ah ! ' said the learned man, ' I'm wTiting about the 
true, the good, and the beautiful ; but nobody cares to 
hear of anything of the kind : I am quite in despair, for 
I take that to heart.' 

' That I do not,' said the Shadow. ^ I'm becoming fat 


and hearty, and that 's what one must try to become. 
You don't understand the world, and you're getting ill. 
You must travel. I'll make a journey this summer ; will 
you go too 1 I should like to have a travelling companion ; 
will you go with me as my shadow ? I shall be very happy 
to take you, and I'll pay the expenses.' 

' That 's going a little too far,' said the learned man. 

' As you take it,' replied the Shadow. ' A journey will 
do you a great deal of good. Will you be my shadow ? — 
then you shall have ever3rthing on the journey for nothing.' 

' That 's too strong ! ' said the learned man. 

' But it 's the way of the world,' said the Shadow, ' and 
so it will remain ! ' And he went away. 

The learned man was not at all fortunate. Sorrow and 
care pursued him, and what he said of the true and the good 
and the beautiful was as little valued by most people as 
roses would be by a cow. At last he became quite ill. 

' You really look like a shadow ! ' people said ; and a 
shiver ran through him at these words, for he attached 
a peculiar meaning to them. 

' You must go to a watering-place ! ' said the Shadow, 
who came to pay him a visit. ' There 's no other help 
for you. I'll take you with me, for the sake of old acquain- 
tance. I'll pay the expenses of the journey, and you shall 
make a description of it, and shorten time for me on the 
way. I want to visit a watering-place. My beard doesn't 
grow quite as it should, and that is a kind of illness ; and 
a beard I must have. Now, be reasonable and accept my 
proposal : we shall travel like comrades.' 

And they travelled. The Shadow was master now, and 
the master was shadow : they drove together, they rode 
together, and walked side by side, and before and behind 
each other, just as the sun happened to stand. The Shadow 
always knew when to take the place of honour. The 
learned man did not particularly notice this, for he had 
a very good heart, and was moreover particularly mild 
and friendly. Then one day the master said to the Shadow, 

' As we have in this way become travelling companions, 
and have also from childhood's days grown up with one 
another, shall we not drink brotherhood ? That sounds 
more confidential.' 


' You're saying a thing there,' said the Shadow, who was 
now really the master, ' that is said in a very kind and 
straightforward way. I will be just as kind and straight- 
forward. You, who are a learned gentleman, know very 
well how wonderful nature is. There are some men who 
cannot bear to touch brown paper, they become sick at 
it ; others shudder to the marrow of their bones if one 
scratches with a nail upon a pane of glass ; and I for my 
part have a similar feeling when any one says " thou " 
to me ; I feel myself, as I did in my first position with you, 
oppressed by it. You see that this is a feeling, not pride. 
I cannot let you say " thou " ^ to me, but I will gladly say 
" thou " to you ; and thus your wish will be at any rate 
partly fulfilled.' 

And now the Shadow addressed his former master as 'thou'. 

' That 's rather strong,' said the latter, ' that I am to 
say " you ", while he says " thou ".' But he was obliged to 
submit to it. 

They came to a bathing-place, where many strangers 
were, and among them a beautiful young Princess, who had 
this disease, that she saw too sharply, which was very 
disquieting. She at once saw that the new arrival was 
a very different personage from all the rest. 

' They say he is here to get his beard to grow ; but I see 
the real reason — he can't throw a shadow.' 

She had now become inquisitive, and therefore she at 
once began a conversation with the strange gentleman 
on the promenade. As a Princess, she was not obliged to 
use much ceremony, therefore she said outright to him at 

' Your illness consists in this, that you can't throw 
a shadow.' 

* Your Royal Highness must be much better,' replied 
the Shadow. ' I know your illness consists in this, that 
you see too sharply ; but you have got the better of that. 
I have a very unusual shadow : don't you see the person 
who always accompanies me ? Other people have a common 
shadow, but I don't love what is common. One often gives 
one's servants finer cloth for their liveries than one wears 

^ On the Continent, people who have ' drunk brotherhood * address 
each other as ' thou '. in preference to the more ceremonious ' you '. 



oneself, and so I have let my shadow deck himself out like 
a separate person ; yes, you see I have even given him 
a shadow of his own. That cost very much, but I like to 
have something peculiar.' 

' How ! ' said the Princess, ' can I really have been cured? 
This is the best bathing-place in existence ; water has 

wonderful power nowadays. But I'm not going away from 
here yet, for now it begins to be amusing. The stranger — • 
pleases me remarkably well. I only hope his beard won't 
grow, for if it does he'll go away.' 

That evening the Princess and the Shadow danced 
together in the great ball-room. She was light, but he was 
still lighter ; never had she seen such a dancer. She told 
him from what country she came, and he knew the country 
— he had been there, but just when she had been absent. 


He had looked through the windows of her castle, from 
below as well as from above ; he had learned many cir- 
cumstances, and could therefore make allusions, and give 
replies to the Princess, at which she marvelled greatly. 
She thought he must be the cleverest man in all the world, 
and was inspired with great respect for all his knowledge. 
And when she danced with him again, she fell in love with 
him, and the Shadow noticed that particularly, for she 
looked him almost through and through with her eyes. 
They danced together once more, and she was nearly 
telling him, but she was discreet : she thought of her 
country, and her kingdom, and of the many people over 
whom she was to rule. 

' He is a clever man,' she said to herself, ' and that is 
well, and he dances capitally, and that is well too ; but 
has he well-grounded knowledge ? That is just as important, 
and he must be examined.' 

And she immediately put such a difficult question to 
him, that she could not have answered it herself ; and the 
Shadow made a wry face. 

' You cannot answer me that,' said the Princess. 

' I learned that in my childhood,' replied the Shadow, 
' and I believe my very shadow, standing yonder by the 
door, could answer it.' 

' Your shadow ! ' cried the Princess : ' that would be 
very remarkable.' 

' I do not assert as quite certain that he can do so,' said 
the Shadow, ' but I am almost inclined to believe it, he 
has now accompanied me and listened for so many 
years. But your Royal Highness will allow me to remind 
you that he is so proud of passing for a man, that, if he is 
to be in a good humour, and he should be so to answer 
rightly, he must be treated just like a man.' 

' I like that,' said the Princess. 

And now she went to the learned man at the door ; and she 
spoke with him of sun and moon, of people both inside and out, 
and the learned man answered very cleverly and very well. 

' What a man that must be, who has such a clever shadow ! ' 
she thought. ' It would be a real blessing for my country 
and for my people if I chose him for my husband ; and 
I'll do it ! ■' 


And they soon struck a bargain — the Princess and the 
Shadow ; but no one was to know anything of it till she had 
returned to her kingdom. 

' No one — not even my shadow,' said the Shadow ; and 
for this he had especial reasons. 

And they came to the country where the Princess ruled, 
and where was her home. 

' Listen, my friend,' said the Shadow to the learned 
man. ' Now I am as lucky and powerful as any one can 
become, I'll do something particular for you. You shall 
live with me in my palace, drive with me in the royal 
carriage, and have a hundred thousand dollars a year ; but 
you must let yourself be called a shadow by every one, 
and may never say that you were once a man ; and once 
a year, when I sit on the balcony and show myself, you must 
lie at my feet as it becomes my shadow to do. For I will 
tell you I'm going to marry the Princess, and this evening 
the wedding will be held.' 

' Now, that 's too strong ! ' said the learned man. ' I 
won't do it ; I won't have it. That would be cheating the 
whole country and the Princess too. I'll tell everything — ■ 
that I'm the man and you are the Shadow, and that you 
are only dressed up ! ' 

' No one would believe that,' said the Shadow. ' Be 
reasonable, or I'll call the watch.' 

' I'll go straight to the Princess,' said the learned man. 

' But I'll go first,' said the Shadow ; ' and you shall go 
to prison.' 

And that was so ; for the sentinels obeyed him who they 
knew was to marry the Princess, 

' You tremble,' said the Princess, when the Shadow 
came to her. ' Has anything happened ? You must not 
be ill to-day, when we are to have our wedding.' 

' I have experienced the most terrible thing that can 
happen,' said the Shadow. ' Only think ! — such a poor 
shallow brain cannot bear much — only think ! my shadow 
has gone mad : he fancies he has become a man, and — only 
think ! — that I am his shadow.' 

' This is terrible ! ' said the Princess. ' He 's locked up, 
I hope ? ' 

' Certainly. I'm afraid he will never recover.' 


* Poor shadow ! ' cried the Princess, ' he 's very un- 
fortunate. It would really be a good action to deliver 
him from his little bit of life. And when I think it over, 
properly, I believe it is quite necessary to put him quietly 
out of the way.' 

' That 's certainly very hard, for he was a faithful 
servant,' said the Shadow ; and he pretended to sigh. 

' You've a noble character,' said the Princess, and she 
bowed before him. 

In the evening the whole town was illuminated, and 
cannon were fired — bang ! — and the soldiers presented 
arms. That was a wedding ! The Princess and the Shadow 
stepped out on the balcony to show themselves and receive 
another cheer. 

The learned man heard nothing of all this festivity, for 
he had already been executed. 


Down yonder, in the street, stood an old, old house. It 
was almost three hundred years old, for one could read as 
much on the beam, on which was carved the date of its 
erection, surrounded by tulips and trailing hops. There 
one could read entire verses in the characters of olden 
times, and over each window a face had been carved in 
the beam, and these made all kinds of strange grimaces. 
One story projected a long way above the other, and 
close under the roof was a leaden gutter with a dragon's 
head. The rain water was to run out of the dragon's 
mouth, but it ran out of the creature's body instead, for 
there was a hole in the pipe. 

All the other houses in the street were still new and trim, 
with smooth walls and large window-panes. One could 
easily see that they would have nothing to do with the old 
house. They thought perhaps, ' How long is that old 
rubbish-heap to stand there, a scandal to the whole street ? 
The parapet stands so far forward that no one can see out 
of our windows what is going on in that direction. The 
staircase is as broad as a castle staircase, and as steep as 



if it led to a church tower. The iron railing looks like the 
gate of a family vault, and there are brass bosses upon 
it. It 's too ridiculous ! ' 

Just opposite stood some more new neat houses that 
thought exactly like the rest ; but here at the window sat 
a little boy, with fresh red cheeks, with clear sparkling 
eyes, and he was particularly fond of the old house, in 
sunshine as well as by moonlight. And when he looked 
down at the wall where the plaster had fallen off, then he 

could sit and fancy all kinds of pictures — how the street 
must have appeared in old times, with stairs, balconies, 
and pointed gables ; he could see soldiers with halberds, 
and roof -gutters running about in the form of dragons and 
griffins. It was just a good house to look at ; and in it 
lived an old man who went about in leather knee-breeches, 
and wore a coat with great brass buttons, and a wig which 
one could at once see was a real wig. Every morning an 
old man came to him, to clean his rooms and run on his 
errands. With this exception the old man in the leather 
knee-breeches was all alone in the old house. Sometimes 
he came to one of the windows and looked out, and the little 
boy nodded to him, and the old man nodded back, and thus 


they became acquainted and became friends, though they 
had never spoken to one another ; but, indeed, that was 
not at all necessary. 

The little boy heard his parents say, ' The old man 
opposite is very well off, but he is terribly lonely.' 

Next Sunday the little boy wrapped something in a piece 
of paper, went with it to the house door, and said to the 
man who ran errands for the old gentleman, 

' Hark -ye, will you take this to the old gentleman 
opposite for me ? I have two tin soldiers ; this is one of 
them, and he shall have it, because I know that he is 
terribly lonely.' 

And the old attendant looked quite pleased, and nodded, 
and carried the Tin Soldier into the old house. Afterwards 
he was sent over, to ask if the little boy would not like to 
come himself and pay a visit. His parents gave him leave ; 
and so it was that he came to the old house. 

The brass bosses on the staircase shone much more 
brightly than usual ; one would have thought they had 
been polished in honour of his visit. And it was just as 
if the carved trumpeters — for on the doors there were 
carved trumpeters, standing in tulips — ^were blowing with 
all their might ; their cheeks looked much rounder than 
before. Yes, they blew ' Tan-ta-ra-ra ! the little boy 's 
coming ! tan-ta-ra-ra ! ' and then the door opened. The 
whole of the hall was hung with old portraits of knights 
in armour and ladies in silk gowns ; and the armour rattled 
and the silk dresses rustled ; and then came a staircase 
that went up a great way and down a little way, and then 
one came to a balcony which was certainly in a very 
rickety state, with long cracks and great holes ; but out 
of all these grew grass and leaves, for the whole balcony, 
the courtyard, and the wall, were overgrown with so much 
green that it looked like a garden, but it was only a balcony. 
Here stood old flower-pots that had faces with asses' ears ; 
but the flowers grew just as they chose. In one pot pinks 
were growing over on all sides ; that is to say, the green 
stalks, sprout upon sprout, and they said quite plainly, 
' The air has caressed me and the sun has kissed me, and 
promised me a little flower for next Sunday, a little flower 
next Sunday ! ' 


And then they came to a room where the walls were 
covered with pig-skin, and golden flowers had been stamped 
on the leather. 

' Flowers fade fast. 
But pig-skin will last,' 

said the walls. And there stood chairs with quite high 
backs, with carved work and elbows on each side. 

' Sit down ! ' said they. ' Oh, how it cracks inside me ! 
Now I shall be sure to have the gout, like the old cupboard. 
Gout in my back, ugh ! ' 

And then the little boy came to the room where the old 
man sat. 

' Thank you for the Tin Soldier, my little friend,' said 
the old man, ' and thank you for coming over to me.' 

' Thanks ! thanks ! ' or ' Crick ! crack ! ' said all the 
furniture ; there were so many pieces that they almost 
stood in each other's way to see the little boy. 

And in the middle, on the wall, hung a picture of a beauti- 
ful lady, young and cheerful in appearance, but dressed just 
like people of the old times, with powder in her hair and 
skirts that stuck out stiffly. She said neither ' Thanks ' nor 
' Crack ' , but looked down upon the little boy with her mild 
eyes ; and he at once asked the old man, 

' Where did you get her from ? ' 

* Erom the dealer opposite,' replied the old man. ' Many 
pictures are always hanging there. No one knows them 
or troubles himself about them, for they are all buried. 
But many years ago I knew this lady, and now she 's 
been dead and gone for half a century.' 

And under the picture hung, behind glass; a nosegay of 
w^ithered flowers ; they were certainly also half a century 
old — at least they looked it ; and the pendulum of the 
great clock went to and fro, and the hands turned round, 
and everything in the room grew older still, but no one 
noticed it. 

' They say at home,' said the little boy, ' that j^ou are 
always terribly solitary.' 

' Oh,' answered the old man, ' old thoughts come, with 
all that they bring, to visit me ; and now you come as 
well, I'm very well off.' 


And then he took from a shelf a book with pictures : 
there were long processions of wonderful coaches, such as 
one never sees at the present day, soldiers like the knave 
of clubs, and citizens with waving flags. The tailors had 
a flag with shears on it held by two lions, and the shoe- 
makers a flag, without boots, but with an eagle that had 
two heads ; for among the shoemakers everything must be 
so arranged that they can say, ' There 's a pair.' Yes, 
that was a picture-book ! And the old man went into the 
other room, to fetch preserves, and apples, and nuts. It 
was really glorious in that old house. 

' I can't stand it,' said the Tin Soldier, who stood upon 
the shelf. ' It is terribly lonely and dull here. When 
a person has been accustomed to family life, one cannot 
get accustomed to their existence here. I cannot stand it ! 
The day is long enough, but the evening is longer still ! 
Here it is not at all as it was in your house opposite, where 
your father and mother were always conversing cheerfully 
together, and you and all the other dear children made 
a famous noise. How solitary it is here at the old man's ! 
Do you think he gets any kisses ? Do you think he gets 
friendly looks, or a Christmas tree ? He'll get nothing 
but a funeral ! I cannot stand it ! ' 

' You must not look at it from the sorrowful side,' said 
the little boy. ' To me it all appears remarkably pretty, 
and all the old thoughts, with all they bring with them, 
come to visit here.' 

* Yes, but I don't see them, and don't know them,' 
objected the Tin Soldier. ' I can't bear it ! ' 

' You must bear it,' said the little boy. 

And the old man came with the pleasantest face and 
with the best of preserved fruits and apples and nuts ; 
and then the little boy thought no more of the Tin Soldier. 
Happy and delighted, the youngster went home ; and days 
went by, weeks went by, and there was much nodding 
from the boy's home across to the old house and back ; 
and then the little boy went over there again. 

And the carved trumpeters blew, ' Tan-ta-ra-ra ! tan-ta- 
ra-ra ! there 's the little boy, tan-ta-ra-ra ! ' and the swords 
and armour on the old pictures rattled, and the silken 
dresses rustled, and the leather told tales, and the old 


chairs had the gout in their backs. Ugh ! it was just Hke 
the first time, for over there one day or one hour was 
just like another. 

' I can't stand it ! ' said the Tin Soklier. ' I've wept 
tears of tin. It 's too dreary here. I had rather go to war 
and lose my arms and legs ; at any rate, that 's a change. 
I cannot stand it ! Now I know what it means to have 
a visit from one's old thoughts and all they bring with 
them. I've had visits from my own, and you may believe 
me, that 's no pleasure in the long run. I was very nearly 
jumping down from the shelf. I could see you all in the 
house opposite as plainly as if you had been here. It was 
Sunday morning, and you children were all standing round 
the table singing the psalm you sing every morning. 
You were standing reverently with folded hands, and your 
father and mother were just as solemn ; then the door 
opened, and your little sister Maria, who is not two years 
old yet, and who always dances when she hears music or 
song, of whatever description they may be, was brought 
in. She was not to do it, but she immediately began to 
dance, though she could not get into right time, for the 
song was too slow, so she first stood on one leg and bent 
her head quite over in front, but it was not long enough. 
You all stood very quietly, though that was rather difficult ; 
but I laughed inwardly, and so I fell down from the table 
and got a bruise which I have still ; for it was not right 
of me to laugh. But all this, and all the rest that I have 
experienced, now passes before my mind's eye, and those 
must be the old thoughts with everything they bring with 
them. Tell me, do you still sing on Sundays ? Tell me 
something about little Maria. And how is my comrade 
and brother Tin Soldier ? Yes, he must be very happy. 
I can't stand it ! ' 

' You have been given away,' said the little boy. ' You 
must stay where you are. Don't you see that ? ' 

And the old man came with a box in which many things 
were to be seen : little rouge-pots and scent-boxes ; and 
old cards, larger and more richly gilt than one ever sees them 
in these days ; and many large drawers were opened, like- 
wise the piano ; and in this were painted landscapes, 
inside the lid. But the piano was quite hoarse when the 


old man played upon it, and then he hummed a song. 
' Yes, she could sing that,' he said, and then he nodded to 
the picture that he had bought at the dealer's, and the old 
man's eyes shone quite brightly. 

' I'll go to the war ! I'll go to the war ! ' cried the Tin 
Soldier, as loud as he could , and he threw himself down 
on the floor. 

Where had he gone ? The old man searched, the little 
boy searched, but he was gone, and could not be found. 

' I shall find him,' said the old man. 

But he never found him : the flooring was so open and 
full of holes, that the Tin Soldier had fallen through a crack, 
and there he lay as in an open grave. 

And the day passed away, and the little boy went home ; 
and the week passed by, and many weeks passed by. The 
windows were quite frozen up, and the little boy had to 
sit and breathe upon the panes, to make a peep-hole to 
look at the old house ; and snow had blown among all the 
carving and the inscriptions, and covered the whole stair- 
case, as if no one were in the house at all. And, indeed, 
there was no one in the house, for the old man had died ! 

In the evening a carriage stopped at the door, and in 
that he was laid, in his coffin ; he was to rest in a family 
vault in the country. So he was carried away ; but no 
one followed him on his last journey, for all his friends 
were dead. And the little boy kissed his hand after the 
coffin as it rolled away. 

A few days later, and there was an auction in the old 
house ; and the little boy saw from his window how the 
old knights and ladies, the flower-pots with the long ears, 
the chairs and the cupboards, were carried away. One was 
taken here, and another there : her portrait, that had been 
bought from the dealer, went back into his shop, and there 
it was hung, for no one cared for the old picture. 

In the spring the house itself was pulled down, for the 
people said it was old rubbish. One could look from the 
street straight into the room with the leather wall-covering, 
which was taken down, ragged and torn ; and the green 
of the balcony hung straggling over the beams, that 
threatened to fall in altogether. And now a clearance was 


' That is good ! ' said the neighbour houses. 

And a capital house was built, with large windows and 
smooth white walls ; but in front of the place where the 
old house had really stood, a little garden was planted, and 
by the neighbour's wall tall vine shoots clambered up. In 
front of the garden was placed a great iron railing with an 
iron door ; and it had a stately look. The people stopped 
in front, and looked through. And the sparrows sat down 
in dozens upon the vine branches, and chattered all at 
once as loud as they could ; but not about the old house, 
for they could not remember that, for many years had gone 
by — so many, that the little boy had grown to be a man, 
a thorough man, whose parents rejoiced in him. And he 
had Just married, and was come with his wife to live in 
the house, in front of which was the garden ; and here he 
stood next to her while she planted a field flower which she 
considered very pretty ; she planted it with her little 
hand, pressing the earth close round it with her fingers. 
' Ah, what was that ? ' She pricked herself. Out of the 
soft earth something pointed was sticking up. Only think ! 
that was the Tin Soldier, the same that had been lost up 
in the old man's room, and had been hidden among old 
wood and rubbish for a long time, and had lain in the 
ground many a year. And the young wife first dried the 
Soldier in a green leaf, and then with her fine handkerchief, 
that smelt so deliciously. And the Tin Soldier felt just as 
if he were waking from a fainting fit. 

' Let me see him,' said the young man. And then he 
smiled and shook his head. ' Ah ! it can scarcely be the 
same ; but it reminds me of an affair with a Tin Soldier 
which I had when I was a little boy.' 

And then he told his wife about the old house, and the 
old man, and of the Tin Soldier he had sent across to the 
old man whom he had thought so lonely ; and the tears 
came into the young wife's eyes for the old house and the 
old man. 

' It is possible, after all, that it may be the same Tin 
Soldier,' said she. ' I will take care of him, and remember 
what you have told me ; but you must show me the old 
man's grave.' 

' I don't know where it is,' replied he, ' and no one 


knows. All his friends were dead ; none tended his grave, 
and I was but a little boy.' 

' Ah, how terribly lonely he must have been ! ' said she. 

' Yes, horribly lonely,' said the Tin Soldier ; ' but it is 
glorious not to be forgotten.' 

' Glorious ! ' repeated a voice close to them. 

But nobody except the Tin Soldier perceived that it 
came from a rag of the pig's -leather hangings, which was 
now devoid of all gilding. It looked like wet earth, but 
yet it had an opinion, which it expressed thus : 

'Gilding fades fast, 
Pig-skin -will last ! ' 

But the Tin Soldier did not believe that. 


There was once a rich gentleman whose whole effects 
consisted of a Bootjack and a Hair-comb, but he had the 
finest Shirt Collar in the world, and about this Shirt 
Collar we will tell a story. 

The Collar was now old enough to think of marrying, 
and it happened that he was sent to the wash together 
with a Garter. 

' My word ! ' exclaimed the Shirt Collar. ' I have never 
seen anything so slender and delicate, so charming and 
genteel. May I ask your name ? ' 

' I shall not tell you that,' said the Garter. 

' Where is your home ? ' asked the Shirt Collar. 

But the Garter was of rather a modest disposition, and 
it seemed such a strange question to answer. 

' I presume you are a girdle ? ' said the Shirt Collar — 
' a sort of under girdle ? I see that you are useful as weU 
as ornamental, my little lady.' 

' You are not to speak to me,' said the Garter. ' I have 
not, I think, given you any occasion to do so.' 

' Oh ! when one is as beautiful as you are,' cried the 
Shirt Collar, ' that is occasion enough.' 


' Go ! ' said the Garter ; ' don't come so near me : you 
look to me quite like a man.' 

' I am a fine gentleman, too,' said the Shirt Collar. ' I 
possess a bootjack and a hair-comb.' 

And that was not true at all, for it was his master who 
owned these things, but he was boasting. 

' Don't come too near me,' said the Garter ; ' I'm not 
used to that.' • 

' Affectation ! ' cried the Shirt Collar. 

And then they were taken out of the wash, and starched, 
and hung over a chair in the sunshine, and then laid on 
the ironing-board ; and now came the hot Iron. 

' Mrs. Widow ! ' said the Shirt Collar, ' little Mrs. 
Widow, I'm getting quite warm ; I'm being quite changed ; 
I'm losing all my creases ; you're burning a hole in me ! 
Ugh ! I propose to you.' 

' You old rag ! ' said the Iron, and rode proudly over 
the Shirt Collar, for it imagined that it was a steam boiler, 
and that it ought to be out on the railway, dragging 
carriages. ' You old rag ! ' said the Iron. 

The Shirt Collar was a little frayed at the edges, therefore 
the Paper Scissors came to smooth away the frayed places. 

' Ho, ho ! ' said the Shirt Collar ; ' I presume you are 
a first-rate dancer. How you can point your toes ! no one 
in the world can do that like you.' 

' I know that,' said the Scissors. 

' You deserve to be a countess,' said the Shirt Collar. 
' All that I possess consists of a fine gentleman, a bootjack, 
and a comb. If I had only an estate ! ' 

' What ! do you want to marry ? ' cried the Scissors ; 
and they were angry, and gave such a deep cut that the 
Collar had to be cashiered. 

' I shall have to propose to the Hair-comb,' thought the 
Shirt Collar. ' It is wonderful how well you keep all your 
teeth, my little lady. Have you never thought of engaging 
yourself ? ' 

' Yes, you can easily imagine that,' replied the Hair- 
comb. ' I am engaged to the Bootjack.' 

' Engaged ! ' cried the Shirt Collar. 

Now there was no one left to whom he could offer him- 
self, and so he despised love-making. 


A long time passed, and the Shirt Collar was put into 
the sack of a paper-miller. There was a terribly ragged 
company, and the fine ones kept to themselves, and the 
coarse ones to themselves, as is right. They all had much 
to tell, but the Shirt Collar had most of all, for he was 
a terrible Jack Brag. 

' I have had a tremendous number of sweethearts,' said 
the Shirt Collar. ' They would not leave me alone ; but 
I was a fine gentleman, a starched one. I had a bootjack 
and a hair-comb that I never used : you should only have 
seen me then, when I was turned down. I shall never 
forget my first love ; it was a girdle ; and how delicate, 
how charming, how genteel it was ! And my first love 
threw herself into a washing- tub, and all for me ! There 
was also a widow who became quite glowing, but I let her 
stand alone till she turned quite black. Then there was 
a dancer who gave me the wound from which I still suffer 
— she was very hot-tempered. My own hair-comb was in 
love with me, and lost all her teeth from neglected love. 
Yes, I've had many experiences of this kind ; but I am 
most sorry for the Garter — I mean for the girdle, that 
jumped into the wash-tub for love of me. I've a great deal 
on my conscience. It 's time I was turned into white paper,' 

And to that the Shirt Collar came. All the rags were 
turned into white paper, but the Shirt Collar became the 
very piece of paper we see here, and upon which this story 
has been printed, and that was done because he boasted 
so dreadfully about things that were not at all true. And 
this we must remember, so that we may on no account do 
the same, for we cannot know at all whether we shall not 
be put into the rag bag and manufactured into white 
paper, on which our whole history, even the most secret, 
shall be printed, so that we shall be obliged to run about 
and tell it, as the Shirt Collar did. 



The Flax stood in blossom ; it had pretty little blue 
flowers, smooth as a moth's wings, and even more delicate. 
The sun shone on the Flax, and the rain clouds moistened 
it, and this was just as good for it as it is for little children 
when they are washed, and afterwards get a kiss from 
their mother ; they become much prettier, and so did the 

' The people say that I stand uncommonly well,' said the 
Flax, ' and that I'm fine and long, and shall make a capital 
jDiece of linen. How happy I am ! I'm certainly the 
hajjpiest of beings. How well off I am ! And I may 
come to something ! How the sunshine gladdens, and 
the rain tastes good and refreshes me ! I'm wonderfully 
happy ; I'm the happiest of beings.' 

' Yes, yes, yes ! ' said the Hedge-stake. ' You don't 
know the world, but we do, for we have knots in us ; ' 
and then it creaked out mournfully, 

' Snip-snap-snurre, 
Basse-lurre ! 
The song is done.' 

* No, it is not done,' said the Flax. ' To-morrow the sun 
will shine, or the rain will refresh us. I feel that I'm 
growing, I feel that I'm in blossom ! I'm the happiest of 

But one day the people came and took the Flax by the 
head and pulled it up by the root. That hurt ; and it was 
laid in water as if they were going to drown it, and then 
put on the fire as if it was going to be roasted. It was 
quite fearful ! 

' One can't always have good times,' said the Flax. 
' One must make one's experiences, and so one gets to 
know something.' 

But bad times certainly came. The Flax was bruised 
and scutched, and broken and hackled. Yes, it did not 
even know what the operations were called that they did 
with it. It was put on the spinning-wheel — whirr ! whirr ! 
whirr ! — it was not possible to collect one's thoughts. 

' I have been uncommonly happy ! ' it thought in all 

ANB. F. T. j/j 


its pain. ' One must be content with the good one has 
enjoyed ! Contented ! contented ! Oh ! ' And it con- 
tinued to say so even when it was put into the loom, and 
till it became a large beautiful piece of linen. All the flax, 
to the last stalk, was used in making one piece. 

' But this is quite remarkable ! I should never have 
believed it ! How favourable fortune is to me ! The 
Hedge -stake was well informed, truly, with its 
Basse-lurre ! 

The song is not done by any means. Now it 's beginning 
in earnest. That 's quite remarkable ! If I've suffered 
something, I've been made into something ! I'm the 
happiest of all ! How strong and fine I am, how white 
and long ! That 's something different from being a mere 
plant, even if one has a flower. One is not attended to, 
and only gets watered when it rains. Now I'm attended 
to and cherished ; the maid turns me over every morning, 
and I get a shower bath from the watering-pot every 
evening. Yes, the clergyman's wife has even made a speech 
about me, and says I'm the best piece in the whole parish. 
I cannot be happier ! ' 

Now the Linen was taken into the house, and put under 
the scissors : how they cut and tore it, and then pricked it 
\\ith needles ! That was not pleasant ; but twelve pieces 
of body linen of a kind not often mentioned by name, but 
indispensable to all people, were made of it — a whole 
dozen ! 

' Just look ! Now something has really been made of 
me ! So, that was my destiny. That 's a real blessing. 
Now I shall be of some use in the world, and that 's right, 
that 's a true pleasure ! We've been made into twelve 
things, but yet we're all one and the same ; we're just, 
a dozen : how remarkably charming that is ! ' 

Years rolled on, and now they would hold together no 

' It must be over on© day,' said each piece. ' I would 
gladly have held together a little longer, but one must not 
expect impossibilities.' 

They were now torn into pieces and fragments. They 
thought it was all over now, for they were hacked to shreds^ 


and softened and boiled ; yes, they themselves did not 
know all that was done to them ; and then they became 
beautiful white paper. 

' Now, that is a surprise, and a glorious surprise ! ' said 
the Paper. ' Now I'm finer than before, and I shall be 
written on : that is remarkably good fortune.' 

And really the most beautiful stories and verses were 
written upon it, and the people heard what was upon it ; 
it was sensible and good, and made people much more 
sensible and good : there was a great blessing in the words 
that were on this Paper. 

' That is more than I ever imagined when I was a little 
blue flower in the fields. How could I fancy that I should 
ever spread joy and knowledge among men ? I can't yet 
understand it myself, but it is really so. I have done 
nothing myself but what I was obliged with my weak 
powers to do for my own preservation, and yet I have been 
promoted from one joy and honour to another. Each 
time when I think " the song is done," it begins again in 
a higher and better way. Now I shall certainly be sent 
about to journey through the world, so that all people 
may read me. That is the only probable thing. I've 
splendid thoughts, as many as I had pretty flowers in the 
old times. I'm the happiest of beings.' 

But the Paper was not sent on its travels, it was sent to 
the printer, and everything that was written upon it was 
set up in type for a book, or rather for many hundreds of 
books, for in this way a very far greater number could 
derive pleasure and profit from the book than if the one 
paper on which it was written had run about the world, to 
be worn out before it had got half-way. 

' Yes, that is certainly the wisest way,' thought the 
Written Paper. ' I really did not think of that. I shall 
stay at home, and be held in honour, just Uke an old 
grandfather. It was on me the writing was done ; the 
words flowed from the pen right into me. I remain here 
and the books run about. Now something can really be 
done. I am the happiest of all.' 

Then the Paper was tied together in a bundle, and put 
on a shelf. 

' It 's good resting after work,' said the Paper. ' It is 



very right that one should collect one's thoughts. Now 
I'm able for the first time to think of what is in me, and to 
know oneself is true progress. What will be done with me 
now ? At any rate I shall go forward again : I'm always 
going forward.' 

One day all the paper was laid on the hearth in order 
to be burnt, for it must not be sold to the grocer to wrap 
up butter and sugar. And all the children in the house 
stood round ; they wanted to see it blaze, they wanted 
to see among the ashes the many red sparks, which seemed 
to dart off and go out, one after the other, so quickly. These 

are the children going out of school, and the last spark of 
all is the schoolmaster : one often thinks he has gone 
already, but he always comes a little after all the others. 
All the old Paper, the whole bundle, was laid upon the 
fire, and it was soon alight. ' Ugh ! ' it said, and burst out 
into bright flame that mounted up higher than the Flax 
had ever been able to lift its little blue flowers, and glittered 
as the white Linen had never been able to glitter. All the 
written letters turned for a moment quite red, and all the 
words and thoughts turned to flame. 

' Now I'm mounting straight up to the sun,' said a voice 
in the flame ; and it was as if a thousand voices said this 
in unison ; and the flames mounted up through the chimney 


and out at the top, and more delicate than the flames, 
invisible to human eyes, little tiny beings floated there, as 
many as there had been blossoms on the Flax. They 
were lighter even than the flame from which they were 
born ; and when the flame was extinguished, and nothing 
remained of the Paper but black ashes, they danced over 
it once more, and where they touched the black mass the 
little red sj)arks appeared. The children came out of 
school, and the schoolmaster was the last of all. That 
was fun ! and the children sang over the dead ashes — 

' Snip- snap- snurre, 
~" -lurre ! 

The song is done.' 

But the little invisible beings all said, 

' The song is never done, that is the best of all. I know 
it, and therefore I'm the happiest of all.' 

But the children could neither hear that nor understand 
it, nor ought they, for children must not know everything. 


It was in the month of May. The wind still blew cold, 
but bushes and trees, field and meadow, all alike said the 
spring had come. There was store of flowers even in the 
wild hedges ; and there spring carried on his affairs, and 
preached from a little apple tree, where one branch hung 
fresh and blooming, covered with delicate pink blossoms 
that were just ready to open. The Apple Tree Branch 
knew well enough how beautiful he was, for the knowledge 
is inherent in the blade as well as in the blood ; and con- 
sequently the Branch was not surprised when a nobleman's 
carriage stopped opposite to him on the road, and the 
young countess said that that apple branch was the loveliest 
thing one could behold, a very emblem of spring in its 
most charming form. And the Branch was broken off, and 
she held it in her delicate hand, and sheltered it with her 
silk parasol. Then they drove to the castle, where there 
were lofty halls and splendid apartments. Pure white 
curtains fluttered round the open windows, and beautiful 


flowers stood in shining transparent vases ; and in one of 
these, which looked as if it had been cut out of fresh-fallen 
snow, the Apple Branch was placed among some fresh light 
twigs of beech. It was charming to behold. But the 
Branch became proud ; and this was quite like human 

People of various kinds came through the room, and 
according to their rank they might express their admira- 
tion. A few said nothing at all, and others again said too 
much, and the Apple Tree Branch soon got to understand 
that there was a difference in human beings just as among 

' Some are created for beauty, and some for use ; and 
there are some which one can do without altogether,' 
thought the Apple Branch. 

And as he stood just in front of the open window, from 
whence he could see into the garden and across the fields, 
he had flowers and plants enough to contemplate and to 
think about, for there were rich plants and humble plants — 
some very humble indeed. 

' Poor despised herbs ! ' said the Apple Branch. ' There 
is certainly a difference ! And how unhappy they must 
feel, if indeed that kind can feel like myself and my equals. 
Certainly there is a difference, and distinctions must be 
made, or we should all be equal.' 

And the Apple Branch looked down with a species of 
pity, especially upon a certain kind of flower of which great 
numbers are found in the fields and in ditches. No one 
bound them into a nosegay, they were too common ; for 
they might be found even among the paving-stones, shoot- 
ing up everywhere like the rankest weeds, and they had 
the ugly name of ' dandelion ', or ' the devil's milk-pail '. 

' Poor despised plants ! ' said the Apple Branch. ' It is 
not your fault that you are what you are, that you are so 
common, and that you received the ugly name you bear. 
But it is with plants as with men — there must be a dif- 
ference ! ' 

' A difference ? ' said the Sunbeam ; and he kissed the 
blooming Apple Branch, but also kissed the yellow dande- 
lions out in the field — all the brothers of the Sunbeam 
kissed them^ the poor flowers as well as the rich. 


Now the Apple Branch had never thought of the bound- 
less beneficence of Providence in creation towards every- 
thing that lives and moves and has its being ; he had never 
thought how much that is beautiful and good may be 
hidden, but not forgotten ; but that, too, was quite like 
human nature. 

The Sunbeam, the ray of light, knew better, and said, 

' You don't see far and you don't see clearly. What is 
the despised plant that you especially pity ? ' 

' The dandelion,' replied the Apple Branch. ' It is never 
received into a nosegay ; it is trodden under foot. There 
are too many of them ; and when they run to seed, they 
fly away like little pieces of wool over the roads, and hang 
and cling to people's dress. They are nothing but weeds — 
but it is right there should be weeds too. Oh, I'm really 
very thankful that I was not created one of those flowers.' 

But there came across the fields a whole troop of children, 
the youngest of whom was so small that it was carried by 
the rest, and when it was set down in the grass among the 
yellow flowers it laughed aloud with glee, kicked out with 
its little legs, rolled about and plucked the yellow flowers, 
and kissed them in its pretty innocence. The elder children 
broke off the flowers with their hollow stalks, and bent the 
stalks round into one another, link by link, so that a whole 
chain was made ; first a necklace, and then a scarf to hang 
over their shoulders and tie round their waists, and then 
a chaplet to wear on the head : it was quite a gala of green 
links and chains. The eldest children carefully gathered 
the stalks on which hung the white feathery ball, formed 
by the flower that had run to seed ; and this loose, airy 
wool-flower, which is a beautiful object, looking like the 
finest snowy down, they held to their mouths, and tried 
to blow away the whole head at one breath ; for their 
grandmother had said that whoever could do this would 
be sure to get new clothes before the year was out. So on 
this occasion the despised fiower was a perfect prophet. 

' Do you see ? ' said the Sunbeam. ' Do you see the 
beauty of those flowers ? do you see their power ? ' 

' Yes — over children,' replied the Apple Branch. 

And now an old woman came into the field, and began 
to dig with a blunt shaftless knife round the root of the 


dandelion plant, and pulled it up out ot^ the ground. With 
some of the roots she intended to make coffee for herself ; 
others she was going to sell for money to the druggist. 

' But beauty is a higher thing ! ' said the Apple Tree 
Branch. ' Only the chosen few can be admitted into the 
realm of beauty. There is a difference among plants, just 
as there is a difference among men.' 

And then the Sunbeam spoke of the boundless love of 
the Creator, as manifested in the creation, and of the just 
distribution of things in time and in eternity. 

' Yes, yes, that is your opinion,' the Apple Branch per- 

But now some people came into the room, and the 
beautiful young countess appeared, the lady who had 
placed the A]3ple Branch in the transparent vase in the 
sunlight. She carried in her hand a flower, or something 
of the kind. The object, whatever it might be, was hidden 
by three or four great leaves, wrapped around it like 
a shield, that no draught or gust of wind should in- 
jure it ; and it was carried more carefully than the Apple 
Bough had been. Very gently the large leaves were now 
removed, and lo, there appeared the fine feathery seed 
crown of the despised dandelion ! This it was that the 
lady had plucked with the greatest care, and had carried 
home with every precaution, so that not one of the delicate 
feathery darts that form its downy ball should be blown 
away. She now produced it, quite uninjured, and admired 
its beautiful form, its peculiar construction, and its airy 
beauty, which was to be scattered by the wind. 

' Look, with what singular beauty Providence has in- 
vested it,' she said. ' I will paint it, together with the 
Apple Branch, whose beauty all have admired ; but this 
humble flower has received just as much from Heaven in 
a different way ; and, various as they are, both are children 
of the kingdom of beauty.' 

And the Sunbeam kissed the humble flower, and he kissed 
the blooming Apple Branch whose leaves appeared to blush 



It was far in January, and a terrible fall of snow was 
pelting down. The snow eddied through the streets and 
lanes ; the window-panes seemed plastered with snow on 
the outside ; snow plumped down in masses from the roofs : 
and a sudden hurry had seized on the people, for they ran, 
and jostled, and fell into each other's arms, and as they 
clutched each other fast for a moment, they felt that they 
were safe at least for that length of time. Coaches and 
horses seemed frosted with sugar. The footmen stood with 
their backs against the carriages, so as to turn their faces 
from the wind. The foot passengers kept in the shelter of 
the carriages, which could only move slowly on in the deep 
snow ; and when the storm at last abated, and a narrow 
path was swept clean alongside the houses, the people 
stood still in this path when they met, for none liked to 
take the first step aside into the deep snow to let the other 
pass him. Thus they stood silent and motionless, till, as 
if by tacit consent, each sacrificed one leg, and, stepping 
aside, buried it in the deep snow-heap. 

Towards evening it grew calm. The sky looked as if it 
had been swept, and had become more lofty and trans- 
parent. The stars looked as if they were quite new, and 
some of them were amazingly bright and pure. It froze 
so hard that the snow creaked, and the upper rind of snow 
might well have grown hard enough to bear the Sparrows 
in the morning dawn. These little birds hopped up and 
down where the sweeping had been done ; but they found 
very little food, and were not a little cold. 

' Piep ! ' said one of them to another ; ' they call this 
a new year, and it is worse than the last ! We might just 
as well have kept the old one. I'm dissatisfied, and I've 
reason to be so.' 

' Yes ; and the peojole ran about and fired off shots to 
celebrate the New Year,' said a shivering little Sparrow ; 
' and they threw pans and pots against the doors, and were 
quite boisterous with joy because the Old Year was gone. 
I was glad of it too, because I hoped we should have had 
warm days ; but that has come to nothing — it freezes 

AND. F. T. Ty[ 3 


much harder than before. People have made a mistake 
in reckoning the time ! ' 

' That they have ! ' a third put in, who was old, and had 
a white poll : ' they've something they call the calendar — 
it 's an invention of their own — and everything is to 
be arranged according to that ; but it won't do. When 
spring comes, then the year begins — that is the course of 

' But when will spring come ? ' the others inquired. 

' It will come when the stork comes back. But his 
movements are very uncertain, and here in town no one 
knows anything about it : in the country they are better 
informed. Shall we fly out there and wait ? There, at 
any rate, we shall be nearer to spring.' 

' Yes, that may be all very well,' observed one of the 
Sparrows, who had been hopping about for a long time, 
chirping, without saying anything decided. 'I've found 
a few comforts here in town, which I am afraid I should 
miss out in the country. Near this neighbourhood, in 
a courtyard, there lives a family of people, who have taken 
the very sensible notion of placing three or four flower- 
pots against the wall, with their mouths all turned inwards, 
and the bottom of each pointing outwards. In each flower- 
pot a hole has been cut, big enough for me to fly in and 
out at it. I and my husband have built a nest in one of 
those pots, and have brought up our young family there. 
The family of people of course made the whole arrangement 
that they might have the pleasure of seeing us, or else they 
would not have done it. To please themselves they also 
strew crumbs of bread ; and so we have food, and are in 
a manner provided for. So I think my husband and I will 
stay where we are, although we are very dissatisfied — but 
we shall stay.' 

' And we will fly into the country to see if spring is not 


And away they flew. 

Out in the country it was hard winter, and the glass 
was a few degrees lower than in the town. The sharp 
winds swept across the snow-covered fields. The farmer, 
muffled in warm mittens, sat in his sledge, and beat his 
arms across his breast to warm himself, and the whip lay 


across his knees. The horses ran till they smoked again. 
The snow creaked, and the Sparrows hopped about in the 
ruts, and shivered, ' Piep ! when will spring come ? it is 
very long in coming ! ' 

* Very long,' sounded from the next snow-covered hill, 
far over the field. It might be the echo which was heard ; 
or perhaps the words were spoken by yonder wonderful 
old man, who sat in wind and weather high on the heap 
of snow. He was quite white, attired like a peasant in 
a coarse white coat of frieze ; he had long white hair, and 
was quite pale, with big blue eyes. 

' Who is that old man yonder ? ' asked the Sparrows. 

' I know who he is,' quoth an old Raven, who sat on 
the fence-rail, and was condescending enough to acknow- 
ledge that we are all like little birds in the sight of Heaven, 
and therefore was not above speaking to the Sparrows, and 
giving them information. ' I know who the old man is. 
It is Winter, the old man of last year. He is not dead, 
as the calendar says, but is guardian to little Prince Spring, 
who is to come. Yes, Winter bears sway here. Ugh ! the 
cold makes you shiver, does it not, you little ones ? ' 

' Yes. Did I not tell the truth ? ' said the smallest 
Sparrow : ' the calendar is only an invention of, and 
is not arranged according to nature ! They ought to leave 
these things to us, who are born cleverer than they.' 

And one week passed away, and two passed away. The 
forest was black, the frozen lake lay hard and stiff, looking 
like a sheet of lead, and damp icy mists lay brooding over 
the land ; the great black crows flew about in long lines, 
but silently ; and it seemed as if nature slept. Then a sun- 
beam glided along over the lake, and made it shine like 
burnished tin. The snowy covering on the field and on 
the hill did not glitter as it had done ; but the white form, 
Winter himself, still sat there, his gaze fixed unswervingly 
upon the south. He did not notice that the snowy carpet 
seemed to sink as it were into the earth, and that here and 
there a little grass -green patch appeared, and that all these 
patches were crowded with Sparrows, which cried, ' Kee- 
wit ! kee-wit ! Is spring coming now ? ' 

' Spring ! ' The cry resounded over field and meadow, 
and through the black-brown woods, where the moss still 



glimmered in bright green upon the tree trunks ; and 
from the south the first two storks came flying through 

the air. On the back of each sat a pretty Httle child — 
one was a girl and the other a boy. They greeted the 


earth with a kiss, and wherever they set their feet, white 
flowers grew up from beneath the snow. Then they went 
hand in hand to the old ice man, Winter, clung to his 
breast embracing him, and in a moment they, and he, and 
all the region around were hidden in a thick damp mist, 
dark and heavy, that closed over all like a veil. Gradually 
the wind rose, and now it rushed roaring along, and drove 
away the mist, so that the sun shone warmly forth, and 
Winter himself vanished, and the beautiful children of 
Spring sat on the throne of the year. 

' That 's what I call New Year,' cried each of the 
Sparrows. ' Now we shall get our rights, and have amends 
for the stern winter.' 

Wherever the two children turned, green buds burst 
forth on bushes and trees, the grass shot upwards, and the 
corn-fields turned green and became more and more lovely. 
And the little maiden strewed flowers all around. Her 
apron, which she held up before her, was always full of 
them ; they seemed to spring up there, for her lap con- 
tinued full, however zealously she strewed the blossoms 
around ; and in her eagerness she scattered a snow of 
blossoms over apple trees and peach trees, so that they 
stood in full beauty before their green leaves had fairly 
come forth. 

And she clapped her hands, and the boy clapped his, and 
then flocks of birds came flying up, nobody knew whence, 
and they all twittered and sang, ' Spring has come.' 

That was beautiful to behold. Many an old granny 
crept forth over the threshold into the sunshine, and 
tripped gleefully about, casting a glance at the yellow 
flowers which shone everywhere in the fields, just as they 
used to do when she was young. The world grew young 
again to her, and she said, ' It is a blessed day out here 
to-day ! ' 

The forest still wore its brown -green dress, made of buds ; 
but the woodruff was already there, fresh and fragrant ; 
there were violets in plenty, anemones and primroses came 
forth, and there was sap and strength in every blade of 
grass. That was certainly a beautiful carpet to sit upon, 
and there accordingly the young spring pair sat hand in 
hand, and sang and smiled, and grew on. 


A mild rain fell down upon them from the sky, but they 
did not notice it, for the rain-drops were mingled with 
their own tears of joy. They kissed each other as bride 
and bridegroom, and in the same moment the verdure of 
the woods was unfolded, and when the sun rose, the forest 
stood there arrayed in green. 

And hand in hand the betrothed pair wandered under 
the pendent roof of fresh leaves, where the rays of the sun 
gleamed through the green in lovely, ever-changing hues. 
What virgin purity, what refreshing balm in the delicate 
leaves ! The brooks and streams rippled clearly and merrily 
among the green velvety rushes and over the coloured 
pebbles. All nature seemed to say, ' There is plenty, and 
there shall be plenty always ! ' And the cuckoo sang and 
the lark carolled : it was a charming spring ; but the 
willows had woolly gloves over their blossoms ; they were 
desperately careful, and that is tiresome. 

And days went by and weeks went by, and the heat 
came as it were rolling down. Hot waves of air came 
through the corn, that became yellower and yellower. The 
white water-lily of the North spread its great green leaves 
over the glassy mirror of the woodland lakes, and the fishes 
sought out the shady spots beneath ; and at the sheltered 
side of the wood, where the sun shone down upon the walls 
of the farm-house, warming the blooming roses, and the 
cherry trees, which hung full of juicy black berries, almost 
hot with the fierce beams, there sat the lovely wife of 
Summer, the same being whom we have seen as a child 
and as a bride ; and her glance was fixed upon the black 
gathering clouds, which in wavy outlines — blue-black and 
heavy — were piling themselves up, like mountains, higher 
and higher. They came from three sides, and growing like 
a petrified sea, they came swooping towards the forest, 
where every sound had been silenced as if by magic. Every 
breath of air was hushed, every bird was mute. There was 
a seriousness — a suspense throughout all nature ; but in 
the highways and lanes, foot-passengers, and riders, and 
men in carriages, were hurrying on to get under shelter. 
Then suddenly there was a flashing of light, as if the sun 
were burst forth — flaming, burning, all-devouring ! And 
the darkness returned amid a rolling crash. The rain 


poured down in streams, and there was alternate darkness 
and blinding light ; alternate silence and deafening clamour. 
The young, brown, feathery reeds on the moor moved to 
and fro in long waves, the twigs of the woods were hidden 
in a mist of waters, and still came darkness and light, and 
still silence and roaring followed one another ; the grass 
and corn lay beaten down and swamped, looking as though 
they could never raise themselves again. But soon the 
rain fell only in gentle drops, the sun peered through the 
clouds, the water-drops glittered like pearls on the leaves, 
the birds sang, the fishes leaped up from the surface of the 
lake, the gnats danced in the sunshine, and j^onder on 
the rock, in the salt heaving sea -water, sat Summer him- 
self — a strong man with sturdy limbs and long dripping 
hair — there he sat, strengthened by the cool bath, in the 
warm sunshine. All nature round about was renewed, 
everything stood luxuriant, strong, and beautiful ; it was 
summer, warm, lovely summer. 

And pleasant and sweet was the fragrance that streamed 
upwards from the rich clover-field, where the bees swarmed 
round the old ruined place of meeting : the bramble wound 
itself around the altar stone, which, washed by the rain, 
glittered in the sunshine ; and thither flew the Queen-bee 
with her swarm, and prepared wax and honey. Only 
Summer saw it, he and his strong wife ; for them the altar 
table stood covered with the offerings of nature. 

And the evening sky shone like gold, shone as no church 
dome can shine ; and in the interval between the evening 
and the morning red there was moonlight : it was summer. 

And days went by, and weeks went by. The bright 
scythes of the reapers gleamed in the corn-fields ; the 
branches of the apple trees bent down, heavy with red- 
and -yellow fruit. The hops smelt sweetly, hanging in large 
clusters ; and under the hazel bushes, where hung great 
bunches of nuts, rested a man and woman — Summer and 
his quiet consort. 

' What wealth ! ' exclaimed the woman : ' all around 
a blessing is diffused, everywhere the scene looks homelike 
and good ; and yet — I know not why — I long for peace 
and rest — I know not how to express it. Now they are 
already ploughing again in the field. The people want to 


gain more and more. See, the storks flock together, and 
follow at a little distance behind the plough — the bird of 
Egypt that carried us through the air. Do you remember 
how we came as children to this land of the North ? We 
brought with us flowers, and pleasant sunshine, and green 
to the woods ; the wind has treated them roughly, and they 
have become dark and brown like the trees of the South, 
but they do not, like them, bear golden fruit.' 

' Do you wish to see the golden fruit ? ' said Summer : 
* then rejoice.' 

And he lifted his arm, and the leaves of the forest put 
on hues of red and gold, and beauteous tints spread over 
all the woodland. The rose bush gleamed with scarlet 
hips ; the elder -branches hung down with great heavy 
bunches of dark berries ; the wild chestnuts fell ripe from 
their dark husks ; and in the depths of the forests the 
violets bloomed for the second time. 

But the Queen of the Year became more and more silent, 
and paler and paler. 

' It blows cold,' she said, ' and night brings damp mists. 
I long for the land of my childhood.' 

And she saw the storks fly away, one and all ; and she 
stretched forth her hands towards them. She looked up 
at the nests, which stood empty. In one of them the long- 
stalked cornflower was growing ; in another, the yellow 
mustard-seed, as if the nest were only there for its protec- 
tion; and the Sparrows were flying up into the storks' nests. 

' Piep ! where has the master gone ? I suppose he can't 
bear it when the wind blows, and that therefore he has 
left the country. I wish him a pleasant journey ! ' 

The forest leaves became more and more yellow, leaf fell 
down upon leaf, and the stormy winds of autumn howled. 
The year was now far advanced, and the Queen of the 
Year reclined upon the fallen yellow leaves, and looked 
with mild eyes at the gleaming star, and her husband stood 
by her. A gust swept through the leaves, it fell again, and 
the Queen was gone, but a butterfly, the last of the season, 
flew through the cold air. 

The wet fogs came, an icy wind blew, and the long dark 
nights drew on apace. The Ruler of the Year stood there 
mth locks white as snow, but he knew not it was his hair 


that gleamed so white — he thought snowflakes were falUng 
from the clouds ; and soon a thin covering of snow was 
spread over the fields. 

And then the church bells rang for the Christmas-time. 

' The bells ring for the new-born,' said the Ruler of the 
Year. ' Soon the new King and Queen will be born ; and 
I shall go to rest, as my wife has done — to rest in the 
gleaming star.' 

And in the fresh green fir-wood, where the snow lay, 
stood the Angel of Christmas, and consecrated the young 
trees that were to adorn his feast. 

' May there be joy in the room and under the green 
boughs,' said the Ruler of the Year. In a few weeks he 
had become a very old man, white as snow. ' My time for 
rest draws near, and the young pair of the year shall now 
receive my crown and sceptre.' 

' But the might is still thine,' said the Angel of Christmas ; 
' the might and not the rest. Let the snow lie warmly upon 
the young seed. Learn to bear it, that another receives 
homage while thou yet reignest. Learn to bear being for- 
gotten while thou art yet alive. The hour of thy release 
will come when spring appears.' 

' And when will spring come ? ' asked Winter. 

' It will come when the stork returns.' 

And with white locks and snowy beard, cold, bent, and 
hoary, but strong as the wintry storm and firm as ice, old 
Winter sat on the snowy drift on the hill, looking towards 
the south, as the Winter before had sat and gazed. The 
ice cracked, the snow creaked, the skaters skimmed to and 
fro on the smooth lakes, ravens and crows stood out well 
against the white ground, and not a breath of wind stirred. 
And in the quiet air old Winter clenched his fists, and the 
ice was fathoms thick between land and land. 

Then the Sparrows came again out of the town, and 
asked, ' Who is that old man yonder ? ' 

And the Raven sat there again, or a son of his, which 
comes to quite the same thing, and answered them and 
said, ' It is Winter, the old man of last year. He is not 
dead, as the almanac says, but he is the guardian of 
Spring, who is coming.' 

' When will spring come ? ' asked the Sparrows. ' Then 


we shall have good times and a better rule. The old one 
was worth nothing.' 

And Winter nodded in quiet thought at the leafless forest, 
where every tree showed the graceful form and bend of its 
twigs ; and during the winter sleep the icy mists of the 
clouds came down, and the ruler dreamed of his youthful 
days, and of the time of his manhood ; and towards the 
morning dawn the whole wood was clothed in glittering 
hoar frost. That was the summer dream of Winter, and 
the sun scattered the hoar frost from the boughs. 

' When will spring come ? ' asked the Sparrows. 

' The spring ! ' sounded like an echo from the hills on 
which the snow lay. The sun shone warmer, the snow 
melted, and the birds twittered, ' Spring is coming ! ' 

And aloft through the air came the first stork, and the 
second followed him. A lovely child sat on the back of 
each, and they alighted on the field, kissed the earth, and 
kissed the old silent man, and he disappeared, shrouded 
in the cloudy mist. And the story of the year was done. 

' That is all very well,' said the Sparrows ; ' it is very 
beautiful too, but it is not according to the almanac, and 
therefore it is irregular.' 


There was once a regular student : he lived in a garret, 
and nothing at all belonged to him ; but there was also once 
a regular huckster : he lived on the ground floor, and the 
whole house was his ; and the Goblin lodged with him, for 
here, every Christmas -eve, there was a dish of porridge, 
with a great piece of butter floating in the middle. The 
huckster could give that, and consequently the Goblin stuck 
to the huckster's shop, and that was very interesting. 

One evening the student came through the back door 
to buy candles and cheese for himself. He had no one 
to send, and that 's why he came himself. He procured 
what he wanted and paid for it, and the huckster and his 


wife both nodded a ' good evening ' to him ; and the 
woman was one who could do more than merely nod — 
she had an immense power of tongue ! And the student 
nodded too, and then suddenly stood still, reading the sheet 
of paper in which the cheese had been ^Tapped. It was 
a leaf torn out of an old book, a book that ought not to 
have been torn up, a book that was full of poetry. 

' There lies more of it,' said the huckster : ' I gave an 
old woman a few coffee beans for it ; give me three pence 
and you shall have the remainder.' 

' Thanks,' said the student, ' give me the book instead 
of the cheese : I can eat my bread and butter without 
cheese. It would be a sin to tear the book up entirely. You 
are a capital man, a practical man, but you understand 
no more about poetry than does that cask yonder.' 

Now, that was an impolite speech, especially towards the 
cask ; but the huckster laughed and the student laughed, 
for it was only said in fun. But the Goblin was angry that 
any one should dare to say such things to a huckster who 
lived in his own house and sold the best butter. 

When it was night, and the shop was closed and all were 
in bed except the student, the Goblin came forth, went 
into the bedroom, and took away the good lady's tongue ; 
for she did not want that while she was asleep ; and when- 
ever he put this tongue upon any object in the room, the 
said object acquired speech and language, and could express 
its thoughts and feelings as well as the lady herself could 
have done ; but only one object could use it at a time, 
and that was a good thing, otherwise they would have 
interrupted each other. 

And the Goblin laid the tongue upon the Cask in which 
the old newspapers were lying. 

' Is it true,' he asked, ' that you don't know what poetry 
means ? ' 

' Of course I know it,' replied the Cask : ' poetry is 
something that always stands at the foot of a column in 
the newspapers, and is sometimes cut out. I dare swear 
I have more of it in me than the student, and I'm only 
a poor tub compared to the huckster.' 

Then the Goblin put the tongue upon the coffee-mill, and, 
mercy ! how it began to go ! And he put it upon the butter- 


cask, and on the cashbox : they were all of the waste- 
paper Cask's opinion, a-id the opinion of the majority must 
be respected. 

* Now I shall tell it to the student ! ' 

And with these words the Goblin went quite quietly up 
the back stairs to the garret, where the student Uved. The 

student had still a candle burning, and the Goblin peeped 
through the keyhole, and saw that he was reading in the 
torn book from downstairs. 

But how light it was in his room ! Out of the book 
shot a clear beam, expanding into a thick stem, and into 
a mighty tree, which grew upward and spread its branches 
far over the student. Each leaf was fresh, and every 
blossom was a beautiful girl's head, some with dark spark- 
ling eyes, others with wonderfully clear blue orbs ; every 
fruit was a gleaming star, and there was a glorious sound 
of song in the student's room. 

Never had the little Goblin imagined such splendour, far 
less had he ever seen or heard anything like it. He stood 


still on tiptoe, and peeped in till the light went out in the 
student's garret. Probably the student blew it out, and 
went to bed ; but the little Goblin remained standing there 
nevertheless, for the music still sounded on, soft and 
beautiful — a splendid cradle song for the student who had 
lain down to rest. 

' This is an incomparable place,' said the Goblin : ' I 
never expected such a thing ! I should like to stay here 
with the student.' 

And then he thought it over — and thought sensibly ; 
then he sighed, ' The student has no porridge ! ' And then 
he went down again to the huckster's shop : and it was 
a very good thing that he got down there again at last, 
for the Cask had almost worn out the good woman's tongue, 
for it had spoken out at one side everything that was 
contained in it, and was just about turning itself over, to 
give it out from the other side also, when the Goblin came 
in, and restored the tongue to its owner. But from that 
time forth the whole shop, from the cashbox down to the 
firewood, took its tone from the Cask, and paid him such 
respect, and thought so much of him, that when the huckster 
afterwards read the critical articles on theatricals and art 
in the newspaper, they were persuaded the information 
came from the Cask itself. 

But the Goblin could no longer sit quietly and contentedly 
listening to all the wisdom down there : as soon as the 
light glimmered from the garret in the evening, he felt as 
if the rays were strong cables drawing him up, and he was 
obliged to go and peep through the keyhole ; and there 
a feeling of greatness rolled around him, such as we feel 
beside the ever-heaving sea when the storm rushes over it, 
and he burst into tears ! He did not know himself why 
he was weeping, but a peculiar feeling of pleasure mingled 
with his tears. How wonderfully glorious it must be to 
sit with the student under the same tree ! But that might 
not be — he was obliged to be content with the view through 
the keyhole, and to be glad of that. There he stood on 
the cold landing-place, with the autumn wind blowing down 
from the loft-hole : it was cold, very cold ; but the little 
mannikin only felt that when the light in the room was 
extinguished and the tones in the tree died away. Ha ! 


then he shivered, and crept down again to his warm corner, 
where it was homely and comfortable. 

And when Christmas came, and brought with it the 
porridge and the great lump of butter, why, then he thought 
the huckster the better man. 

But in the middle of the night the Goblin was awakened 
by a terrible tumult and knocking against the window- 
shutters. People rapped noisily without, and the watchman 
blew his horn, for a great fire had broken out — the whole 
street was full of smoke and flame. Was it in the house 
itself or at a neighbour's ? Where was it ? Terror seized 
on all. The huckster's wife was so bewildered that she 
took her gold earrings out of her ears and put them in her 
pocket, that at any rate she might save something ; the 
huckster ran up for his share-papers, and the maid for her 
black silk mantilla, for she had found means to purchase one. 
Each wanted to save the best thing they possessed ; the 
Goblin wanted to do the same thing, and in a few leaps he 
was up the stairs and into the room of the student, who 
stood quite quietly at the open window, looking at the 
conflagration that was raging in the house of the neighbour 
opposite. The Goblin seized upon the wonderful book 
which lay upon the table, popped it into his red cap, and 
held the cap tight with both hands. The best treasure of 
the house was saved ; and now he ran up and away, quite 
on to the roof of the house, on to the chimney. There he 
sat, illuminated by the flames of the burning house opposite, 
both hands pressed tightly over his cap, in which the treasure 
lay ; and now he knew the real feelings of his heart, and 
knew to whom it really belonged. But when the fire was 
extinguished, and the Goblin could think calmly again, why, 
then . . . 

' I must divide myself between the two,' he said ; ' I can't 
quite give up the huckster, because of the porridge ! ' 

Now, that was spoken quite like a human creature. We 
all of us visit the huckster for the sake of the porridge. 



Yes, in a thousand years people will fly on the wings of 
steam through the air, over the ocean ! The young inhabi- 
tants of America will become visitors of old Europe. They 
will come over to see the monuments and the great cities, 
which will then be in ruins, just as we in our time make 
pilgrimages to the mouldering splendours of Southern Asia. 
In a thousand years they will come ! 

The Thames, the Danube, and the Rhine still roll their 
course, Mont Blanc stands firm with its snow-capped 
summit, and the Northern Lights gleam over the lands of 
the North ; but generation after generation has become 
dust, whole rows of the mighty of the moment are forgotten, 
like those who already slumber under the grave-mound on 
which the rich trader whose ground it is has built a bench, 
on which he can sit and look out across his waving cornfields. 

* To Europe ! ' cry the young sons of America ; ' to the 
land of our ancestors, the glorious land of memories and 
fancy — to Europe ! ' 

The ship of the air comes. It is crowded with passengers, 
for the transit is quicker than by sea. The electro-magnetic 
wire under the ocean has already telegraphed the number 
of the aerial caravan. Europe is in sight : it is the coast 
of Ireland that they see, but the passengers are still asleep ; 
they will not be called till they are exactly over England. 
There they will first step on European shore, in the land of 
Shakespeare as the educated call it ; in the land of politics, 
the land of machinery, as it is called by others. 

Here they stay a whole day. That is all the time the 
busy race can devote to the whole of England and Scotland. 
Then the journey is continued through the tunnel under 
the Enghsh Channel, to France, the land of Charlemagne 
and Napoleon. Moliere is named : the learned men talk 
of a classical and romantic school of remote antiquity : 
there is rejoicing and shouting for the names of heroes, 
poets, and men of science, whom our time does not know, 
but who will be born after our time in Paris, the crater of 


The air steamboat flies over the country whence Columbus 
went forth, where Cortez was born, and where Calderon sang 
dramas in sounding verse. Beautiful black-eyed women 
live still in the blooming valleys, and ancient songs speak 
of the Cid and the Alhambra. 

Then through the air, over the sea, to Italy, where once 
lay old, everlasting Rome. It has vanished ! The Campagna 
lies desert : a single ruined wall is shown as the remains 
of St. Peter's, but there is a doubt if this ruin be genuine. 

Next to Greece, to sleep a night in the grand hotel at the 
top of Mount Olympus, to say that they have been there ; 
and the journey is continued to the Bosphorus, to rest 
there a few hours, and see the place where Byzantium lay ; 
and where the legend tells that the harem stood in the 
time of the Turks, poor fishermen are now spreading their 

Over the remains of mighty cities on the broad Danube, 
cities which we in our time know not, the travellers pass; 
but here and there, on the rich sites of those that time shall 
bring forth, the caravan sometimes descends, and departs 
thence again. 

Down below lies Germany, that was once covered with 
a close net of railways and canals, the region where Luther 
spoke, where Goethe sang, and Mozart once held the sceptre 
of harmony. Great names shone there, in science and in 
art, names that are unknown to us. One day devoted to 
seeing Germany, and one for the North, the country of 
Oersted and Linnaeus, and for Norway, the land of the old 
heroes and the young Normans. Iceland is visited on the 
journey home : Geyser boils no longer, Hecla is an extinct 
volcano, but the rocky island is still fixed in the midst of 
the foaming sea, a continual monument of legend and 

' There is really a great deal to be seen in Europe,' says 
the young American, ' and we have seen it in a week, 
according to the directions of the great traveller ' (and here 
he mentions the name of one of his contemporaries) ' in 
his celebrated work, " How to See all Europe in a Week." ' 



There were five peas in one pod : they were green, and 
the pod was green, and so they thought all the world was 
green ; and that was just as it should be ! The pod grew, 
and the peas grew ; they accommodated themselves to 
circumstances, sitting all in a row. The sun shone without, 
and warmed the husk, and the rain made it clear and trans- 
parent ; it was mild and agreeable during the clear day and 
dark during the night, just as it should be, and the peas as 
they sat there became bigger and bigger, and more and more 
thoughtful, for something they must do. 

* Are we to sit here everlastingly ? ' asked one. ' I'm 
afraid we shall become hard by long sitting. It seems 
to me there must be something outside — I have a kind of 
inkling of it.' 

And weeks went by. The peas became yellow, and the 
pod also. 

' All the world 's turning yellow,' said they ; and they had 
a right to say it. 

Suddenly they felt a tug at the pod. It was torn off, 
passed through human hands, and glided down into the 
pocket of a jacket, in company with other full pods. 

' Now we shall soon be opened ! ' they said ; and that 
is just what they were waiting for. 

' I should like to know who of us will get farthest ! ' 
said the smallest of the five. ' Yes, now it will soon show 

' What is to be will be,' said the biggest. 

' Crack ! ' the pod burst, and all the five peas rolled 
out into the bright sunshine. There they lay in a child's 
hand. A little boy was clutching them, and said they 
were fine peas for his pea-shooter ; and he put one in at once 
and shot it out. 

' Now I'm flying out into the wide world, catch me if you 
can ! ' And he was gone. 

'I,' said the second, ' I shall fly straight into the sun. 
That 's a pod worth looking at, and one that exactly suits 
me.' And away he went. 


' We sleep where we come,' said the two next, ' but we 
shall roll on all the same.' And so they rolled first on the 
floor before they got into the pea-shooter ; but they were 
put in for all that. ' We shall go farthest,' said they. 

* What is to happen will happen,' said the last, as he 
was shot forth out of the pea-shooter ; and he flew up 
against the old board under the garret window, just into 
a crack which was filled up with moss and soft mould ; 
and the moss closed round him ; there he lay, a prisoner 
indeed, but not forgotten by our Lord. 

' What is to happen will happen,' said he. 

Within, in the little garret, lived a poor woman, who 
went out in the day to clean stoves, saw wood, and to do 
other hard work of the same kind, for she was strong and 
industrious too. But she always remained poor ; and at 
home in the garret lay her half -grown only daughter, who 
was very delicate and weak ; for a whole year she had kept 
her bed, and it seemed as if she could neither five nor die. 

' She is going to her little sister,' the woman said. ' I 
had only the two children, and it was not an easy thing to 
provide for both, but the good God provided for one of them 
by taking her home to Himself ; now I should be glad to 
keep the other that was left me ; but I suppose they are not 
to remain separated, and she will go to her sister in heaven.' 

But the sick girl remained where she was. She lay quiet 
and patient all day long while her mother went to earn 
money out of doors. It was spring, and early in the 
morning, Just as the mother was about to go out to work, 
the sun shone mildly and pleasantly through the little 
window, and threw its rays across the floor ; and the sick 
girl fixed her eyes on the lowest pane in the window. 

' What may that green thing be that looks in at the 
window ? It is moving in the wind.' 

And the mother stepped to the window, and half opened 
it. ' Oh ! ' said she, ' on my word, it is a little pea which 
has taken root here, and is putting out its little leaves. 
How can it have got here into the crack ? There you have 
a little garden to look at.' 

And the sick girl's bed was moved nearer to the window, 
so that she could always see the growing pea ; and the 
mother went forth to her work. 


' Mother, I think I shall get well,' said the sick child 
in the evening, ' The sun shone in upon me to-day delight- 
fully warm. The little pea is thriving famously, and I shall 
thrive too, and get up, and go out into the warm sunshine,' 

' God grant it ! ' said the mother, but she did not believe 
it would be so ; but she took care to prop with a little stick 
the green plant which had given her daughter the pleasant 
thoughts of life, so that it might not be broken by the wind ; 
she tied a piece of string to the window-sill and to the upper 
part of the frame, so that the pea might have something 
round which it could twine, when it shot up : and it did 
shoot up indeed — one could see how it grew every day, 

' Really, here is a flower coming ! ' said the woman one 
day ; and now she began to cherish the hope that her 
sick daughter would recover. She remembered that lately 
the child had spoken much more cheerfully than before, 
that in the last few days she had risen up in bed of her own 
accord, and had sat upright, looking with delighted eyes 
at the little garden in which only one plant grew. A week 
afterwards the invalid for the first time sat up for a whole 
hour. Quite happy, she sat there in the warm sunshine ; the 
window was opened, and in front of it outside stood a pink 
pea blossom, fully blown. The sick girl bent down and 
gently kissed the delicate leaves. This day was like a festival. 

' The Heavenly Father Himself has planted that pea, 
and caused it to thrive, to be a joy to you, and to me also, 
my blessed child ! ' said the glad mother ; and she smiled 
at the flower, as if it had been a good angel. 

But about the other peas ? Why, the one who flew out 
into the wide world and said, ' Catch me if you can,' fell 
into the gutter on the roof, and found a home in a pigeon's 
crop, and lay there like Jonah in the whale ; the two lazy 
ones got just as far, for they, too, were eaten up by pigeons, 
and thus, at any rate, they were of some real use ; but the 
fourth, who wanted to go up into the sun, fell into the 
gutter, and lay there in the dirty water for days and 
weeks, and swelled prodigiously. 

' How beautifully fat I'm growing ! ' said the Pea. ' I 
shall burst at last ; and I don't think any pea can do more 
than that. I'm the most remarkable of all the five that were 
in the pod.' 


And the Gutter said he was right. 

But the young girl at the garret window stood there with 
gleaming eyes, with the hue of health on her cheeks, and 
folded her thin hands over the pea blossom, and thanked 
Heaven for it. 

'I,' said the Gutter, ' stand up for my own pea.' 


In the nursery a number of toys lay strewn about : high 
up, on the wardrobe, stood the Money-box, it was of clay 
in the shape of a little pig ; of course the pig had a slit 
in its back, and this slit had been so enlarged with a knife 
that whole dollar-pieces could slip through ; and, indeed, 
two such had slipped into the box, besides a number of 
pence. The Money-pig was stuffed so full that it could no 
longer rattle, and that is the highest point a Money-pig 
can attain. There it stood upon the cupboard, high and 
lofty, looking down upon everything else in the room. It 
knew very well that what it had in its stomach would have 
bought all the toys, and that 's what we call having self- 

The others thought of that too, even if they did not 
exactly express it, for there were many other things to 
speak of. One of the drawers was half pulled out, and 
there lay a great handsome Doll, though she was some- 
what old, and her neck had been mended. She looked out 
and said, — 

' Shall we now play at men and women, for that is 
always something ? ' 

And now there was a general uproar, and even the framed 
prints on the walls turned round and showed that there 
was a wrong side to them ; but they did not do it to 
protest against the proposal. 

It was late at night ; the moon shone through the 
windoAY-frames and gave free light. Now the game was 
about to begin, and all, even the children's Go-Cart, which 
certainly belonged to the coarser playthings, were invited 
to take part in the sport. 


' Each one has his own pecuHar value,' said the Go-Cart : 
' we cannot all be noblemen. There must be some who 
do the work, as the saying is.' 

The Money-pig was the only one who received a written 
invitation, for he was of high standing, and they were 
afraid he would not accept a verbal message. Indeed, he 
did not answer to say whether he would come, nor did he 
come : if he was to take a part, he must enjoy the sport 
from his own home ; they were to arrange accordingly, and 
so they did. 

The little toy theatre was now put up in such a way 
that the Money-pig could look directly in. They wanted 
to begin with a comedy, and afterwards there was to be 
a tea party and a discussion for mental improvement, and 
with this latter part they began immediately. The Rocking- 
Horse spoke of training and race, the Go-Cart of railways 
and steam power, for all this belonged to their profession, 
and it was something they could talk about. The Clock 
talked politics — ticks — ticks — and knew what was the time 
of day, though it was whispered he did not go correctly ; 
the Bamboo Cane stood there, stiff and proud, for he was 
conceited about his brass ferrule and his silver top, for being 
thus bound above and below ; and on the sofa lay two 
worked Cushions, pretty and stupid. And now the play 

AH sat and looked on, and it was requested that the 
audience should applaud and crack and stamp according 
as they were gratified. But the Riding-Whip said he never 
cracked for old people, only for young ones who were not 
yet married. 

' I crack for everything,' said the Cracker. 

And these were the thoughts they had while the play 
went on. The piece was worthless, but it was well played ; 
all the characters turned their painted side to the audience, 
for they were so made that they should only be looked at 
from that side, and not from the other ; and all played 
wonderfully well, coming out quite beyond the lamps, 
because the wires were a little too long, but that only made 
them come out the more. The mended Doll was so affected 
that she burst at the mended place in her neck, and the 
Money-pig was so enchanted in his way that he formed 


the resolution to do something for one of the players, and 
to remember him in his will as the one who should be 
buried with him in the family vault, when matters were 
so far advanced. 

It was true enjoyment, so that they quite gave up the 
thoughts of tea, and only carried out the idea of mental 
recreation. That 's what they called playing at men and 
women ; and there was no malice in it, for they were only 
pla3ang ; and each one thought of himself and of what 
the Money-pig might think ; and the Money-pig thought 
farthest of all, for he thought of making his will and of 
his burial. And when might this come to pass ? Certainly 
far sooner than was expected. Crack ! it fell down from 
the cupboard — fell on the ground, and was broken to 
pieces ; and the pennies hopped and danced : the little 
ones turned round like tops, and the bigger ones rolled 
away, particularly the one great Silver Dollar who wanted 
to go out into the world. And he came out into the world, 
and they all succeeded in doing so. The pieces of the 
Money-pig were put into the dust-bin ; but the next day 
a new Money-pig was standing on the cupboard : it had 
not yet a farthing in its stomach, and therefore could not 
rattle, and in this it was like the other. But that was 
a beginning — and with that we will make an end. 


Not far from the stream Gudenaa, in the forest of Silke- 
borg, a great ridge of land rises and stretches along like 
a wall. By this ridge, westward, stands a farm-house, 
surrounded by poor land ; the sandy soil is seen through 
the spare rye and wheat that grow upon it. Some 
years have elapsed since the time of which we speak. The 
people who lived here cultivated the fields, and moreover 
kept three sheep, a pig, and two oxen ; in fact, they sup- 
ported themselves quite comfortably, for they had enough 
to live on if they took things as they came. Indeed, they 
couJd have managed to save enough to keep two horses ; 


but, like the other peasants of the neighbourhood, they 
said, ' The horse eats itself up ' — that is to say, it eats as 
much as it earns. Jeppe-Jens cultivated his field in 
summer. In the winter he made wooden shoes, and then 
he had an assistant, a journeyman, who understood how 
to make the wooden shoes strong, and light, and graceful. 
They carved shoes and spoons, and that brought in money. 
It would have been wronging the Jeppe-Jenses to call them 
poor people. 

Little lb, a boy seven years old, the only child of the 
family, would sit by, looking at the workmen, cutting at 
a stick, and occasionally cutting his finger. But one day 
he had cut two pieces of wood, so that they looked like 
little wooden shoes ; and these he wanted to give to little 
Christine. She was the boatman's daughter, and was grace- 
ful and delicate as a gentleman's child ; had she been 
differently dressed, no one would have imagined that she 
came out of the hut on the neighbouring heath. There 
lived her father, who was a widower, and supported him- 
self by carrying firewood in his great boat out of the forest 
down to the eel-weir of Silkeborg, and sometimes even to 
the distant town of Banders. He had no one who could 
take care of little Christine, who was a year younger than 
lb, and therefore the child was almost always with him 
in his boat, or in the forest among the heath plants 
and barberry bushes. When he had to go as far as 
Banders, he would bring little Christine to stay at the 
Jeppe-Jenses '. 

lb and Christine agreed very well in every particular : 
they dug in the ground together for treasures, and they 
ran and crept, and one day they ventured together up 
the high ridge, and a long way into the forest ; they 
found a few snipe's eggs there, and that was a great event 
for them. 

lb had never been on the heath, nor had he ever been 
on the river. But even this was to happen ; for Christine's 
father once invited him to go with them, and on the evening 
before the excursion, lb went home with him. 

Next morning early, the two children were sitting high 
up on the pile of firewood in the boat, eating bread and 
raspberries. Christine's father and his assistant propelled 


the boat with staves. They had the current with them, 
and swiftly they gHded down the stream, through the lakes 
which sometimes seemed shut in by woods and reeds. 
But there was always room for them to pass, even if 
the old trees bent quite forward over the water, and the 
old oaks bent down their bare branches, as if they had 
turned up their sleeves, and wanted to show their knotty 
naked arms. Old alder trees, which the stream had washed 
away from the bank, clung with their roots to the bottom 
of the stream, and looked like little wooded islands. The 
water-lilies rocked themselves on the river. It was a 
splendid excursion ; and at last they came to the great 
eel-weir, where the water rushed through the flood-gates ; 
that was something for lb and Christine to see ! 

In those days there was no manufactory there, nor was 
there any town : only the old farm-yard, and the stock 
there was not large ; and the rushing of the water through 
the weir and the cry of the wild ducks were the only signs 
of life in Silkeborg. After the firewood had been unloaded, 
the father of Christine bought a whole bundle of eels and 
a slaughtered sucking-pig, and all was put into a basket 
and placed in the stern of the boat. Then they went back 
again up the stream ; but the wind was favourable, and 
when the sails were hoisted it was as good as if two horses 
had been harnessed to the boat. 

When they had arrived at a point in the stream where 
the assistant-boatman dwelt, a little way from the bank, 
the boat was moored, and the two men landed, after 
exhorting the children to sit still. But the children did 
not do that very long. They must be peeping into the 
basket in which the eels and the sucking-pig had been 
placed, and they must needs pull the sucking-pig out, and 
take it in their hands ; and as both wanted to hold it at 
the same time, it came to pass that they let it fall into the 
water, and the sucking-pig drifted away with the stream — 
and here was a terrible event ! 

lb jumped ashore, and ran a little distance along the 
bank, and Christine sprang after him. 

' Take me with you ! ' she cried. 

And in a few minutes they were deep in the thicket, 
and could no longer see either the boat or the bank. They 


ran on a little farther, and then Christine fell down on the 
ground and began to cry ; but lb picked her up. 

' Follow me ! ' he cried. ' The house lies over there.' 

But the house was not there. They wandered on and 
on, over the withered leaves, and over dry fallen branches 
that crackled beneath their feet. Soon they heard a loud 
piercing scream. They stood still and listened, and pre- 
sently the scream of an eagle again sounded through the 
wood. It was an ugly scream, and they were frightened at it ; 
but before them, in the thick wood, the most beautiful 
blueberries grew in wonderful profusion. They were so 
inviting that the children could not do otherwise than 
stop ; and they lingered for some time, eating the blue- 
berries till they had quite blue mouths and blue cheeks. 
Now again they heard the cry they had heard before. 

' We shall get into trouble about the pig,' said Christine. 

' Come, let us go to our house,' said lb ; 'it is here in 
the wood.' 

And they went forward. They presently came to a road, 
but it did not lead them home ; and darkness came on, 
and they were afraid. The wonderful stillness that reigned 
around was interrupted now and then by the shrill cries 
of the great horned owl and of the birds that were strange 
to them. At last they both lost themselves in a thicket. 
Christine cried, and lb cried too ; and after they had cried 
for a time, they threw themselves down on the dry leaves, 
and went fast asleep. 

The sun was high in the heavens when the two children 
awoke. They were cold ; but on the hillock close at hand the 
sun shone through the trees, and there they thought they 
would warm themselves ; and from there lb fancied they 
would be able to see his parents' house. But they were 
far away from that, in quite another part of the forest. 
They clambered to the top of the rising ground, and found 
themselves on the summit of a slope running down to the 
margin of a transparent lake. They could see fish in great 
numbers in the pure water illumined by the sun's rays. 
This spectacle was quite a sudden surprise for them ; 
close beside them grew a nut tree covered with the finest 
nuts ; and now they picked the nuts and cracked them. 


and ate the delicate young kernels, which had only just 
begun to form. But there was another surprise and another 
fright in store for them. Out of the thicket stepped a tall 
old woman : her face was quite brown, and her hair was 
deep black and shining. The whites of her eyes gleamed 
like a negro's ; on her back she carried a bundle, and in 
her hand she bore a knotted stick. She was a gipsy. The 
children did not at once understand what she said. She 
brought three nuts out of her pocket, and told them that 
in these nuts the most beautiful, the loveliest things were 
hidden, for they were wishing-nuts. 

lb looked at her, and she seemed so friendly that he 
plucked up courage and asked her if she would give him 
the nuts ; and the woman gave them to him, and gathered 
some more for herself, a whole pocketful, from the nut tree. 

And lb and Christine looked at the wishing-nuts with 
great eyes. 

' Is there a carriage with a pair of horses in this nut ? ' 
he asked. 

' Yes, there 's a golden carriage with golden horses,' 
answered the woman. 

' Then give me the nut,' said little Christine. 

And lb gave it to her, and the strange woman tied it 
in her pocket-handkerchief for her. 

' Is there in this nut a pretty little neckerchief, like the 
one Christine wears round her neck ? ' inquired lb. 

* There are ten neckerchiefs in it,' answered the woman. 
* There are beautiful dresses in it, and stockings, and a hat.' 

' Then I will have that one too,' cried little Christine. 
And lb gave her the second nut also. The third was 
a little black thing. 

* That one you can keep,' said Christine ; ' and it is 
a pretty one too.' 

' What is in it ? ' inquired lb. 

* The best of all things for you,' replied the gipsy woman. 
And lb held the nut very tight. The woman promised 

to lead the children into the right path, so that they might 
find their way home ; and now they went forward, cer- 
tainly in quite a different direction from the path they 
should have followed. But that is no reason why we 
should suspect the gipsy woman of wanting to steal the 


children. In the wild wood-path they met the forest bailiff, 
who knew lb ; and by his help, lb and Christine both 
arrived at home, where their friends had been very anxious 
about them. They were pardoned and forgiven, although 
they had indeed both deserved to get into trouble ; firstly, 
because they had let the sucking-pig fall into the water, 
and secondly, because they had run away. 

Christine was taken back to her father on the heath, 
and lb remained in the farm-house by the wood. The 
first thing he did in the evening was to bring forth out 
of his pocket the nut, in which ' the best thing of all ' was 
said to be enclosed. He placed it carefully between the 
door and the door-frame, and then shut the door so as to 
break the nut ; but there was not much kernel in it. The 
nut looked as if it were filled with snuff or black rich earth ; 
it was what we call hollow, or worm-eaten. 

' Yes, that 's exactly what I thought,' said lb. ' How 
could the very best thing be contained in this little nut ? 
And Christine will get just as little out of her two nuts, 
and will have neither fine clothes nor golden carriage.' 

And winter came on, and the new year began ; indeed, 
several years went by. 

lb was now to be confirmed, and the clergyman lived 
a long way off. About this time the boatman one day 
visited Ib's parents, and told them that Christine was now 
going into service, and that she had been really fortunate 
in getting a remarkably good place, and falling into worthy 

' Only think ! ' he said ; ' she is going to the rich inn- 
keeper's, in the inn at Herning, far towards the west. She 
is to assist the hostess in keeping the house ; and after- 
wards, if she takes to it well, and stays to be confirmed 
there, the people are going to keep her with them.' 

And lb and Christine took leave of one another. People 
called them sweethearts ; and at parting, the girl showed 
lb that she had still the two nuts which he had given her 
long ago, during their wanderings in the forest ; and she 
told him, moreover, that in a drawer she had carefully kept 
the little wooden shoes which he had carved as a present 
for her in their childish days. And thereupon they parted. 


lb was confirmed. But he remained in his mother's 
house, for he had become a clever maker of wooden shoes, 
and in summer he looked after the field. His mother had 
no one else to do this, for his father was dead. 

Only seldom he got news of Christine from some passing 
postilion or eel-fisher. But she was well off at the rich 
innkeeper's ; and after she had been confirmed, she wrote 
a letter to her father, and sent a kind message to lb and 
his mother ; and in the letter there was mention made of 
six new shifts and a fine new gown, which Christine had 
received from her master and mistress. This was certainly- 
good news. 

Next spring, there was a knock one day at the door of 
our Ib's old mother, and behold, the boatman and Christine 
stepped into the room. She had come on a visit to spend 
a day : a carriage had to come from the Herning Inn to 
the next village, and she had taken the opportunity to 
see her friends once again. She looked as handsome as 
a real lady, and she had a pretty gown on, which had been 
well sewn, and made expressly for her. There she stood, 
in grand array, and lb was in his working clothes. He could 
not utter a word : he certainly seized her hand, and held 
it fast in his own, and was heartily glad ; but he could 
not get his tongue to obey him. Christine was not embar- 
rassed, however, for she went on talking and talking, and, 
moreover, kissed lb on his mouth in the heartiest manner. 

' Do you really not know me ? ' she asked ; but even 
afterwards, when they were left quite by themselves, and 
he stood there still holding her hand in his, he could 
only say, 

' You look quite like a real lady, and I am so uncouth. 
How often I have thought of you-, Christine, and of the 
old times ! ' 

And arm in arm they sauntered up the great ridge, and 
looked across the stream towards the heath, towards the 
great heather banks. It was perfectly silent ; but by the 
time they parted it had grown quite clear to him that 
Christine must be his wife. Had they not, even in their 
childhood, been called sweethearts ? To him they seemed 
to be reallj^ engaged to each other, though neither of them 
had spoken a word on the subject. Only for a few more 


hours could they remain together, for Christine was obliged 
to go back into the next village, from whence the carriage 
was to start early next morning for Herning. Her father 
and lb escorted her as far as the village. It was a fair 
moonlight evening, and when they reached their destina- 
tion, and lb still held Christine's hand in his own, he could 
not let it go. His eyes brightened, but still the words 
came halting over his lips. Yet they came from the depths 
of his heart, when he said, 

* If you have not become too grand, Christine, and if 
you can make up your mind to live with me in my mother's 
house as my wife, we must become a wedded pair some 
day ; but we can wait a while yet.' 

' Yes, let us wait for a time, lb,' she replied ; and she 
pressed his hand, and he kissed her lips. ' I trust in you, 
lb,' said Christine ; ' and I think that I love you — but 
I will sleep upon it.' 

And with that they parted. And on the way home lb 
told the boatman that he and Christine were as good as 
betrothed ; and the boatman declared he had always 
expected it would turn out so ; and he went home with 
lb, and remained that night in the young man's house ; 
but nothing further was said of the betrothal. 

A year passed by, in the course of which two letters 
were exchanged between lb and Christine. The signature 
was prefaced by the words, ' Faithful till death ! ' One 
day the boatman came in to lb, and brought him a greeting 
from Christine. What he had further to say was brought 
out in somewhat hesitating fashion, but it was to the effect 
that Christine was almost more than prosperous, for she 
was a pretty girl, courted and loved. The son of the host 
had been home on a visit ; he was employed in the office 
of some great institution in Copenhagen ; and he was very 
much pleased with Christine, and she had taken a fancy 
to him : his parents were not unwilling, but it lay very 
much on Christine's mind that lb had such a fancy for 
her ; ' and so she had thought of refusing this great piece 
of good fortune,' said the boatman. 

At first lb said not a word, but he became as white as 
the wall, and slightly shook his head. Then he said slowly, 

' Christine must not thrust her good fortune away.' 


* Then do you write a few words to her,' said the boat- 

And lb sat down to write ; but he could not manage it 
well : the words would not come as he wished them ; and 
first he altered, and then he tore up the page ; but the 
next morning a letter lay ready to be sent to Christine, 
and here it is : 

I have read the letter you have sent to your father, and gather from 
it that you are prospering in all things, and that there is a prospect of 
higher fortune for you. Ask your heart, Christine, and think well over 
what you are going into, if you take me for your husband ; what I 
possess is but little. Do not think of me, or my position, but think of 
your own welfare. You are bound to me by no promise, and if in your 
heart you have given me one, I release you from it. May aU the joy of 
the world be yours, Christine. Heaven will have comfort for my heart. 

Ever your sincere friend, Ib. 

And the letter was dispatched, and Christine duly re- 
ceived it. 

In the course of that November her banns were published 
in the church on the heath, and in Copenhagen, where her 
bridegroom lived ; and to Copenhagen she travelled, with 
her mistress, because the bridegroom could not undertake 
the journey into Jutland on account of his various occupa- 
tions. On the journey, Christine met her father in a certain 
village, and here the two took leave of one another. A few 
words were mentioned concerning this fact, but Ib made 
no remark upon it : his mother said he had grown very 
silent of late ; indeed, he had become very pensive, and 
thus the three nuts came into his mind which the gipsy 
woman had given him long ago, and of which he had given 
two to Christine. Yes, it seemed right — in one of hers lay 
a golden carriage with horses, and in the other very elegant 
clothes ; all those luxuries would now be Christine's in the 
capital. Her part had thus come true. And to him, Ib, 
the nut had offered only black earth. The gipsy woman 
had said this was ' the best of all for him '. Yes, it was 
right — that also was coming true. The black earth was 
the best for him. Now he understood clearly what had 
been the woman's meaning. In the black earth, in the 
dark grave, would be the best happiness for him. 

And once again years passed by, not very many, but 


they seemed long years to lb. The old innkeeper and his 
wife died, and the whole of their property, many thousands 
of dollars, came to the son. Yes, now Christine could have 
the golden carriage and plenty of fine clothes. 

During the two long years that followed, no letter came 
from Christine ; and when her father at length received 
one from her, it was not written in prosperity, by any 
means. Poor Christine ! neither she nor her husband had 
understood how to keep the money together, and there 
seemed to be no blessing with it, because they had not 
sought it. 

And again the heather bloomed and faded. The snow 
had swept for many winters across the heath, and over the 
ridge beneath which lb dwelt, sheltered from the rough 
winds. The spring sun shone bright, and lb guided the 
plough across his field, when one day it glided over what 
appeared to be a flint stone. Something like a great black 
shaving came out of the ground, and when lb took it up 
it proved to be a piece of metal ; and where the plough 
had cut into it, it gleamed brightly. It was a great heavy 
armlet of gold from heathen times. A grave-mound had 
been levelled here and its precious treasure found. lb 
showed what he had found to the clergyman, who explained 
its value to him, and then he betook himself to the local 
judge, who reported the discovery to Copenhagen, and 
recommended lb to deliver up the treasure in person. 

' You have found in the earth the best thing you could 
find,' said the judge. 

' The best thing ! ' thought lb. ' The very best thing 
for me, and found in the earth ! Well, if that is the best, 
the gipsy woman was correct in what she prophesied to me.^ 

So lb travelled with the boat from Aarhus to Copen- 
hagen. To him, who had only crossed Gudenaa, it was 
like a voyage across the ocean. And he arrived in Copen- 

The value of the gold he had found was paid over to 
him ; it was a large sum — six hundred dollars. And lb 
of the heath wandered about in the great capital. 

On the day on which he had settled to go back with 
the captain, lb lost his way in the streets, and took quite 
a different direction from the one he intended to follow. 


He had wandered into the suburb of Chris tianshaven, into 
a poor little street. Not a human being was to be seen. 
At last a very little girl came out of a wretched house, 
lb inquired of the little one the way to the street which 
he wanted ; but she looked shyly at him, and began 
to cry bitterly. He asked her what ailed her, but could 
not understand what she said in reply. But as they 
were both under a lamp, and the light fell on the girl's 
face, he felt quite strange, for Christine stood bodily 
before him, just as he remembered her from the days of his 

And he went with the little maiden into the wretched 
house, and ascended the narrow, crazy staircase, which led 
to a little attic chamber in the roof. The air in this chamber 
was heavy and almost suffocating : no light was burning ; 
but there was heavy sighing and moaning in one comer, 
lb struck a light with the help of a match. It was the 
mother of the child who lay on the miserable bed. 

' Can I be of any service to you ? ' asked lb. ' This 
little girl has brought me up here, but I am a stranger in 
this city. Are there no neighbours or friends whom I could 
call to you ? ' And he raised the sick woman's head. 

It was Christine of the heath ! 

For years her name had not been mentioned at home 
in Jutland, for it would have disturbed Ib's peace of mind, 
and rumour had told nothing good concerning her. The 
wealth which her husband had inherited from his parents 
had made him proud and arrogant. He had given up his 
certain appointment, had travelled for half a year in foreign 
lands, and on his return had incurred debts, and yet lived 
in an expensive fashion. His carriage had bent over more 
and more, so to speak, until at last it turned over com- 
pletely. The many merry companions and table-friends 
he had entertained declared it served him right, for he had 
kept house like a madman ; and one morning his body 
was found in the canal. 

The hand of death was already on Christine. Her 
youngest child, only a few weeks old, expected in pros- 
perity and born in misery, was already in its grave, and it 
had come to this with Christine herself, that she lay sick 
to death and forsaken, in a miserable room, amid a poverty 

AND. F. T. jq^ 3 


that she might well have borne in her childish days, but 
which now oppressed her painfully, since she had been 
accustomed to better things. It was her eldest child, also 
a little Christine, that here suffered hunger and poverty 
with her, and who had conducted lb there. 

' I am afraid I shall die and leave the poor child here 
alone,' she said. ' Where in the world will she go then ? * 
And not a word more could she utter. 

And lb brought out another match, and lighted up 
a piece of candle he found in the room, and the flame 
illumined the wretched dwelling. And lb looked at the 
little girl, and thought how Christine had looked when she 
was young ; and he felt that for her sake he would be 
good to this child, which was as yet a stranger to him. 
The dying woman gazed at him, and her eyes opened wider 
and wider — did she recognize him ? He never knew, for 
no further word passed over her lips. 

And it was in the forest by the river Gudenaa, in the 
region of the heath. The air was grey, and there were no 
blossoms on the heath plant ; but the autumn tempests 
whirled the yellow leaves from the wood into the stream, 
and out over the heath towards the hut of the boatman, 
in which strangers now dwelt ; but beneath the ridge, safe 
beneath the protection of the high trees, stood the little 
farm, trimly whitewashed and painted, and within it the 
turf blazed up cheerily in the chimney ; for within was 
sunlight, the beaming sunlight of a child's two eyes ; and 
the tones of the spring birds sounded in the words that 
came from the child's rosy lips : she sat on Ib's knee, and 
lb was to her both father and mother, for her own parents 
were dead, and had vanished from her as a dream vanishes 
alike from children and grown men. lb sat in the pretty 
neat house, for he was a prosperous man, while the mother 
of the little girl rested in the churchyard at Copenhagen, 
where she had died in poverty. 

lb had money, and was said to have provided for the 
future. He had won gold out of the black earth, and he 
had a Christine for his own, after all. 



Out in the country lay an old mansion, and in it lived 
an old proprietor, who had two sons, which two young 
men thought themselves too clever by half. They wanted 
to go out and woo the King's daughter ; for the maiden 
in question had publicly announced that she would choose 
for her husband that one that she thought could best 
speak for himself. 

So these two prepared themselves a full week for the 
wooing — this was the longest time that could be granted 
them ; but it was enough, for they had previous accom- 
plishments, and these are useful. One of them knew the 
whole Latin dictionary by heart, and three whole years of 
the daily paper of the little town, and that either back- 
wards or forwards. The other was deeply read in the 
corporation laws, and knew by heart what every alderman 
ought to know ; and accordingly he thought he could talk 
of affairs of state. And he knew one thing more : he, could 
embroider braces, for he was a tasty, light-fingered fellow. 

' I shall win the Princess ! ' So cried both of them. 
Therefore their father gave to each a handsome horse. 
The youth who knew the dictionary and newspaper by 
heart had a black horse, and he who knew all about the 
corporation laws received a milk-white steed. Then they 
rubbed the corners of their mouths with fish-oil, so that 
they might become very smooth and glib. All the servants 
stood below in the courtyard, and looked on while they 
mounted their horses ; and just by chance the third son 
came up. For there were three of them, though nobody 
counted the third with his brothers, because he was not 
so learned as they, and indeed he was generally known as 
' Jack the Dullard '. 

' Hallo ! ' said he, ' where are you going since you have 
put on your best clothes ? ' 

' We're going to the King's court, as suitors to the King's 
daughter. Don't you know the announcement that has 
been made all through the country ? ' And they told him 
all about it. 

* My word ! I'll be in it too ! ' cried Jack the Dullard ; 


and his two brothers burst out laughing at him, and rode 

' Father,' said Jack, * I must have a horse too. I do 
feel so desperately inclined to marry ! If she accepts me, 
she accepts me ; and if she won't have me, I'll have her 
all the same ! ' 

' Don't talk nonsense,' said the father. * You shall have 
no horse from me. You don't know how to speak. Your 
brothers are very different fellows from you.' 

' Well,' quoth Jack the Dullard, ' if I can't have a horse, 
I'll take the billy-goat, who belongs to me, and he can 
carry me very well ! ' 

And so he mounted the billy-goat, pressed his heels into 
its sides, and gallopped off along the highway. 

' Hei, houp ! that was a ride ! Here I come ! ' shouted 
Jack the Dullard, and he sang till his voice echoed far and 

But his brothers rode slowly on in advance of him. 
They spoke not a word, for they were thinking all about 
the fine ideas they would have to bring out, and these had 
to be cleverly prepared beforehand. 

' Hallo ! ' shouted Jack the Dullard. ' Here am I ! Look 
what I have found on the high road.' And he showed 
them a dead crow which he had found. 

* Dullard ! ' exclaimed the brothers, ' what are you going 
to do with that ? ' 

' I am going to give it to the Princess.' 

' Yes, do so,' said they ; and they laughed, and rode on. 

' Hallo, here I am again ! Just see what I have found 
now : you don't find that on the high road every day ! ' 

And the brothers turned round to see what he could 
have found now. 

* Dullard ! ' they cried, ' that is only an old wooden shoe, 
and the upper part is missing into the bargain ; are you 
going to give that also to the Princess ? ' 

' Most certainly I shall,' replied Jack the Dullard ; and 
again the brothers laughed and rode on, and thus they got 
far in advance of him ; but 

' Hallo ! ' and there was Jack the Dullard again. ' It is 
getting better and better,' he cried. ' Hurrah ! it is quite 


' Why, what have you found this time ? ' inquired the 

* Oh,' said Jack the Dullard, ' I can hardly tell you. 
How glad the Princess will be ! ' 

' Bah ! ' said the brothers ; ' that is nothing but clay 
out of the ditch.' 

' Yes, certainly it is,' said Jack the Dullard ; ' and clay 
of the finest sort. See, it is so wet, it runs through one's 
fingers.' And he filled his pocket with the clay. 

But his brothers gallopped on as hard as the harness 
could stand, and consequently they arrived a full hour 
earlier at the town gate than could Jack. Now at the gate 
each suitor was provided with a number, and all were 
placed in rows, six in each row, and so closely packed 
together that they could not move their arms ; and that 
was a prudent arrangement, for they would certainly have 
come to blows, had they been able, merely because one of 
them stood before the other. 

All the inhabitants of the country round about stood in 
great crowds around the castle, almost under the very 
windows, to see the Princess receive the suitors ; and as 
each stepped into the hall, his power of speech seemed to 
desert him. Then the Princess would say, * He is of no 
use ! away with him ! ' 

At last the turn came for that brother who knew the 
dictionary by heart ; but he had absolutely forgotten it ; 
and the boards seemed to re-echo with his footsteps, and 
the ceiling of the hall was made of looking-glass, so that 
he saw himself standing on his head ; and at the window 
stood three clerks and a head clerk, and every one of them 
was writing down every single word that was uttered, so 
that it might be printed in the newspapers, and sold for 
a penny at the street corners. It was a terrible ordeal, 
and they had moreover made such a fire in the stove, that 
the stove-pipe was quite red hot. 

' It is dreadfully hot here ! ' observed the first brother. 

* Yes,' replied the Princess, ' my father is going to roast 
young pullets to-day.' 

Baa ! there he stood. He had not been prepared for 
a speech of this kind, and had not a word to say, though 
he intended to say something witty. Baa ! 


' He is of no use ! ' said the Princess. ' Away with him ! ' 

And he was obliged to go accordingly. And now the 
second brother came in. 

' It is terribly warm here ! ' he observed. 

' Yes, we're roasting pullets to-day,' replied the Princess. 

' What — what were you — were you pleased to ob ' 

stammered he — and all the clerks wrote down, ' pleased to 
ob ' 

' He is of no use ! ' said the Princess. ' Away with 
him ! ' 

Now came the turn of Jack the Dullard. He rode into 
the hall on his goat. 

' Well, it 's most desperately hot here.' 

' Yes, because I'm roasting young pullets,' replied the 

' Ah, that 's lucky ! 'exclaimed Jack the Dullard, ' then 
I suppose I can get a crow roasted ? ' 

' With the greatest pleasure,' said the Princess. ' But 
have you anything you can roast it in ? for I have neither 
pot nor pan.' 

' Certainly I have ! ' said Jack. ' Here 's a cooking 
utensil with a tin handle.' 

And he brought out the old wooden shoe, and put the 
crow into it. 

' Well, that is a famous dish ! ' said the Princess. ' But 
what shall we do for sauce ? ' 

' Oh, I have that in my pocket,' said Jack : ' I have so 
much of it that I can afford to throw some away ; ' and 
he poured some of the clay out of his pocket. 

' I like that ! ' said the Princess. ' You can give an 
answer, and you have something to say for yourself, and 
so you shall be my husband. But are you aware that every 
word we speak is being taken down, and will be published 
in the paper to-morrow ? You will see in every window 
three clerks and a head clerk ; and the old head clerk is 
the worst of all, for he can't understand anjrthing.' 

But she only said this to frighten him ; and the clerks 
gave a great shout of delight, and each one spurted a blot 
out of his pen on to the floor. 

' Oh, those are the gentlemen, are they ? ' said Jack ; 
* then I will give the best I have to the head clerk.' And 


he turned out his pockets, and flung the wet clay full in 
the head clerk's face. 

' That was very cleverly done,' observed the Princess. 
* I could not have done that ; but I shall learn in time.' 

And accordingly Jack the Dullard was made a king, and 
received a crown and a wife, and sat upon a throne. And 
this report we have straight from the newspaper of the 
head clerk — but it is not to be depended upon ! 


In a narrow crooked street, among other abodes of 
poverty, stood an especially narrow and tall house built 
of timber, which had given way in every direction. The 
house was inhabited by poor people, and the deepest 
poverty was in the garret -lodging in the gable, where, in 
front of the only window, hung an old bent birdcage, 
which had not even a proper water-glass, but only a Bottle- 
neck reversed, with a cork stuck in the mouth, and filled 
with water. An old maid stood by the window : she had 
hung the cage with green chickweed ; and a little chaffinch 
hopped from perch to perch, and sang and twittered merrily 

' Yes, it 's all very well for you to sing,' said the Bottle- 
neck ; that is to say, it did not pronounce the words as 
we can speak them, for a bottle-neck can't speak ; but 
that 's what he thought to himself in his own mind, as 
when we people talk quietly to ourselves. ' Yes, it 's all very 
well for you to sing, you that have all your limbs uninjured. 
You ought to feel what it 's like to lose one's body, and to 
have only mouth and neck left, and that with a cork 
into the bargain, as in my case ; and then I'm sure you 
would not sing. But after all it is well that there should 
be somebody at least who is merry. I've no reason to 
sing, and, moreover, I can't sing. Yes, when I was a whole 
bottle, I sang out well if they rubbed me with a cork. 
They used to call me a perfect lark, a magnificent lark ! 
Ah, when I was out at a picnic with the tanner's family, 
and his daughter was betrothed ! Yes, I remember it as 


if it had happened only yesterday. I have gone through 
a great deal, when I come to recollect. I've been in the 
fire and the water, have been deep in the black earth, and 
have mounted higher than most of the others ; and now 
I'm hanging here, outside the birdcage, in the air and the 
sunshine ! Oh, it would be quite worth while to hear my 
history ; but I don't speak aloud of it, because I can't.' 

And now the Bottle-neck told its story, which was 
sufficiently remarkable. It told the story to itself, or only 
thought it in its own mind ; and the little bird sang his 
song merrily, and down in the street there was driving 
and hurrying, and every one thought of his own affairs, 
or perhaps of nothing at all ; but the Bottle-neck did 
think. It thought of the flaming furnace in the manu- 
factory, where it had been blown into life ; it still re- 
membered that it had been quite warm, that it had glanced 
into the hissing furnace, the home of its origin, and had 
felt a great desire to leap directly back again ; but that 
gradually it had become cooler, and had been very com- 
fortable in the place to which it was taken. It had stood 
in a rank with a whole regiment of brothers and sisters, all 
out of the same furnace ; some of them had certainly been 
blown into champagne bottles, and others into beer bottles, 
and that makes a difference. Later, out in the world, it 
may well happen that a beer bottle may contain the most 
precious wine, and a champagne bottle be filled with 
blacking ; but even in decay there is always something 
left by which people can see what one has been — nobility 
is nobility, even when filled with blacking. 

All the bottles were packed up, and our bottle was 
among them. At that time it did not think to finish its 
career as a bottle-neck, or that it should work its way up 
to be a bird's glass, which is always an honourable thing, 
for one is of some consequence, after all. The bottle did 
not again behold the light of day till it was unpacked with 
the other bottles in the cellar of the wine merchant, and 
rinsed out for the first time ; and that was a strange 
sensation. There it lay, empty and without a cork, and 
felt strangely unwell, as if it wanted something, it could 
not tell what. At last it was filled with good costly wine, 
and was provided with a cork, and sealed down. A ticket 


was placed on it marked ' first quality ' ; and it felt as if 
it had carried off the first prize at an examination ; for, 
you see, the wine was good and the bottle was good. 
When one is young, that 's the time for poetry ! There 
was a singing and sounding within it, of things which it 
could not understand — of green sunny mountains, whereon 
the grape grows, where many vine dressers, men and women, 
sing and dance and rejoice. ' Ah, how beautiful is life ! ' 
There was a singing and sounding of all this in the bottle, 
as in a young poet's brain ; and many a young poet 
does not understand the meaning of the song that is 
within him. 

One morning the bottle was bought, for the tanner's 
apprentice was dispatched for a bottle of wine — ' of the 
best.' And now it was put in the provision basket, with 
ham and cheese and sausages ; the finest butter and the 
best bread were put into the basket too — the tanner's 
daughter herseK packed it. She was young and very 
pretty ; her brown eyes laughed, and round her mouth 
played a smile which said just as much as her eyes. She 
had delicate hands, beautifully white, and her neck was 
whiter still ; you saw at once that she was one of the most 
beautiful girls in the town : and still she was not engaged. 

The provision basket was in the lap of the young girl 
when the family drove out into the forest. The bottle- 
neck looked out from the folds of the white napkin. There 
was red wax upon the cork, and the bottle looked straight 
into the girl's face. It also looked at the young sailor who 
sat next to the girl. He was a friend of old days, the son 
of the portrait painter. Quite lately he had passed with 
honour through his examination as mate, and to-morrow 
he was to sail away in a ship, far off to a distant land. 
There had been much talk of this while the basket was 
being packed ; and certainly the eyes and mouth of the 
tanner's pretty daughter did not wear a very joyous 
expression just then. 

The young people sauntered through the greenwood, 
and talked to one another. What were they talking of ? 
No, the bottle could not hear that, for it was in the provision 
basket. A long time passed before it was drawn forth ; 
but when that happened, there had been pleasant things 


going on, for all were laughing, and the tanner's daughter 
laughed too ; but she spoke less than before, and her 
cheeks glowed like two roses. 

The father took the full bottle and the corkscrew in his 
hand. Yes, it 's a strange thing to be drawn thus, the first 
time ! The Bottle-neck could never afterwards forget 
that impressive moment ; and indeed there was quite 
a convulsion within him when the cork flew out, and 
a great throbbing as the wine poured forth into the 

' Health to the betrothed pair ! ' cried the papa. And 
every glass was emptied to the bottom, and the young 
mate kissed his beautiful bride. 

' Happiness and blessing ! ' said the two old people. 
And the young man filled the glasses again. 

' Safe return, and a wedding this day next year ! ' he 
cried ; and when the glasses were emptied, he took the 
bottle, raised it on high, and said, ' Thou hast been present 
at the happiest day of my life, thou shalt never serve 
another ! ' 

And so saying, he hurled it high into the air. The 
tanner's daughter did not then think that she should see 
the bottle fly again ; and yet it was to be so. It then fell 
into the thick reeds on the margin of a little woodland 
lake ; and the Bottle-neck could remember quite plainly 
how it lay there for some time. 

' I gave them wine, and they give me marsh water,' he 
said ; ' but it is well meant.' 

He could no longer see the betrothed couple and the 
cheerful old people ; but for a long time he could hear 
them rejoicing and singing. Then at last came two peasant 
boys, and looked into the reeds ; they spied out the bottle, 
and took it up ; and now it was provided for. 

At their home, in the wooden cottage, the eldest of 
three brothers, who was a sailor, and about to start on 
a long voyage, had been the day before to take leave. 
The mother was just engaged in packing up various things 
he was to take with him upon his journey, and which the 
father was going to carry into the town that evening to see 
his son once more, to give him a farewell greeting from the 
lad's mother and himself, and a little bottle of medicated 


brandy had already been wrapped up in a parcel, when the 
boys came in with the larger and stronger bottle which 
they had found. This bottle would hold more than the 
little one, and they pronounced that the brandy would be 
capital for a bad digestion, inasmuch as it was mixed 
with medical herbs. The draught that was poured into 
the bottle was not so good as the red wine with which it 
had once been filled ; these were bitter thoughts, but even 
these are sometimes good. The new big bottle was to go, 
and not the little one ; and so the bottle went travelling 
again. It was taken on board for Peter Jensen, in the very 
same ship in which the young mate sailed. But he did not 
see the bottle ; and, indeed, he would not have known 
it, or thought it was the same one out of which had been 
drunk a health to the betrothed pair and to his own happy 

Certainly it had no longer wine to give, but still it con- 
tained something that was just as good. Accordingly, 
whenever Peter Jensen brought it out, it was dubbed by 
his messmates The Apothecary. It contained the best 
medicine, medicine that strengthened the weak, and it 
gave liberally so long as it had a drop left. That was 
a pleasant time, and the bottle sang when it was rubbed 
with the cork ; and it was called the Great Lark, ' Peter 
Jensen's Lark.' 

Long days and months rolled on, and the bottle already 
stood empty in a corner, when it happened — whether on 
the passage out or home the bottle could not tell, for it 
had never been ashore — that a storm arose ; great waves 
came careering along, darkly and heavily, and lifted and 
tossed the ship to and fro. The mainmast was shivered, 
and a wave started one of the planks, and the pumps 
became useless. It was black night. The ship sank ; but 
at the last moment the young mate wrote on a leaf of 
paper, ' God's will be done ! We are sinking ! ' He wrote 
the name of his betrothed, and his own name, and that of 
the ship, and put the leaf in an empty bottle that happened 
to be at hand : he corked it firmly down, and threw it out 
into the foaming sea. He knew not that it was the very 
bottle from which the goblet of joy and hope had once 
been filled for him and for her ; and now it was tossing 


on the waves with his last greeting and the message of 

The ship sank, and the crew sank with her. The bottle 
sped on like a bird, for it bore a heart, a loving letter, 
within itself. And the sun rose and set ; and the bottle 
felt as at the time when it first came into being in the red 
gleaming oven — it felt a strong desire to leap back into 
the light. 

It experienced calms and fresh storms ; but it was 
hurled against no rock, and was devoured by no shark ; 
and thus it drifted on for a year and a day, sometimes 
towards the north, sometimes towards the south, just as 
the current carried it. Beyond this it was its own master, 
but one may grow tired even of that. 

The written page, the last farewell of the sweetheart to 
his betrothed, would only bring sorrow if it came into her 
hands ; but where were the hands, so white and delicate, 
which had once spread the cloth on the fresh grass in the 
greenwood, on the betrothal day ? Where was the tanner's 
daughter ? Yes, where was the land, and which land 
might be nearest to her dwelling ? The bottle knew not ; 
it drove onward and onward, and was at last tired of 
wandering, because that was not in its way ; but yet it 
had to travel until at last it came to land — to a strange 
land. It understood not a word of what was spoken here, 
for this was not the language it had heard spoken before ; 
and one loses a good deal if one does not understand the 

The bottle was fished out and examined. The leaf of 
paper within it was discovered, and taken out, and turned 
over and over, but the people did not understand what 
was written thereon. They saw that the bottle must have 
been thrown overboard, and that something about this 
was written on the paper, but what were the words ? That 
question remained unanswered, and the paper was put 
back into the bottle, and the latter was deposited in a great 
cupboard in a great room in a great house. 

Whenever strangers came, the paper was brought out 
and turned over and over, so that the inscription, which 
was only written in pencil, became more and more illegible, 
so that at last no one could see that there were letters on 


it. And for a whole year more the bottle remained stand- 
ing in the cupboard ; and then it was put into the loft, 
where it became covered with dust and cobwebs. Then 
it thought of the better days, the times when it had poured 
forth red wine in the greenwood, when it had been rocked 
on the waves of the sea, and when it had carried a secret, 
a letter, a parting sigh. 

For full twenty years it stood up in the loft ; and it 
might have remained there longer, but that the house was 
to be rebuilt. The roof was taken off, and then the bottle 
was noticed, and they spoke about it, but it did not under- 
stand their language ; for one cannot learn a language 
by being shut up in a loft, even if one stays there twenty 

' If I had been down in the room,' thought the Bottle, 
' I might have learned it.' 

It was now washed and rinsed, and indeed this was 
requisite. It felt quite transparent and fresh, and as if 
its youth had been renewed in this its old age ; but the 
paper it had carried so faithfully had been destroyed in 
the washing. 

The bottle was filled with seeds, it did not know the 
kind. It was corked and well wrapped up. It saw neither 
lantern nor candle, to say nothing of sun or moon ; and 
yet, it thought, when one goes on a journey one ought 
to see something ; but though it saw nothing, it did 
what was most important — it travelled to the place of its 
destination, and was there unpacked. 

' What trouble they have taken over yonder with that 
bottle ! ' it heard people say ; ' and yet it is most likely 
broken.' But it was not broken. 

The bottle understood every word that was now said ; 
this was the language it had heard at the furnace, and at 
the wine merchant's, and in the forest, and in the ship, 
the only good old language it understood : it had come 
back home, and the language was as a salutation of wel- 
come to it. For very joy, it felt ready to jump out of 
people's hands ; hardly did it notice that its cork had 
been drawn, and that it had been emptied and carried 
into the cellar, to be placed there and forgotten. There 's 
no place like home, even if it 's in a cellar ! It never 


occurred to the bottle to think how long it lay there, for 
it felt comfortable, and accordingly lay there for years. 
At last people came down into the cellar to carry off all 
the bottles, and ours among the rest. 

Out in the garden there was a great festival. Flaming 
lamps hung like garlands, and paper lanterns shone trans- 
parent, like great tulips. The evening was lovely, the 
weather still and clear, the stars twinkled ; it was the 
time of the new moon, but in reality the whole moon could 
be seen as a bluish-grey disk with a golden rim round half 
its surface, which was a very beautiful sight for those who 
had good eyes. 

The illumination extended even to the most retired of 
the garden walks ; at least, so much of it that one could 
find one's way there. Among the leaves of the hedges 
stood bottles, with a light in each ; and among them was 
also the bottle we know, and which was destined one day 
to finish its career as a bottle-neck, a bird's drinking -glass. 
Everything here appeared lovely to our bottle, for it was 
once more in the greenwood, amid joy and feasting, and 
heard song and music, and the noise and murmur of a 
crowd, especially in that part of the garden where the 
lamps blazed and the paper lanterns displayed their many 
colours. Thus it stood, in a distant walk certainly, but 
that made it the more important ; for it bore its light, 
and was at once ornamental and useful, and that is as it 
should be : in such an hour one forgets twenty years spent 
in a loft, and it is right one should do so. 

There passed close to it a pair, like the pair who had 
walked together long ago in the wood, the sailor and the 
tanner's daughter ; the bottle seemed to experience all 
that over again. In the garden were walking not only the 
guests, but other people who were allowed to view all the 
splendour ; and among these latter came an old maid 
without kindred, but not without friends. She was just 
thinking, like the bottle, of the greenwood, and of a young 
betrothed pair — of a pair which concerned her very nearly, 
a pair in which she had an interest, and of which she had 
been a part in that happiest hour of her life — the hour one 
never forgets, if one should become ever so old a maid. 
But she did not know the bottle, and it did not know her : 


it is thus we pass each other in the world, meeting again 
and again, as these two met, now that they were together 
again in the same town. 

From the garden the bottle was dispatched once more to 
the wine merchant's, where it was filled with wine and 
sold to the aeronaut, who was to make an ascent in his 
balloon on the following Sunday. A great crowd had 
assembled to witness the sight ; military music had been 
provided, and many other preparations had been made. 
The bottle saw everything from a basket in which it lay 
next to a live rabbit, which latter was quite bewildered 
because he knew he was to be taken up into the air, and 
let down again in a parachute ; but the bottle knew 
nothing of the ' up ' or the ' down ' ; it only saw the 
balloon swelling up bigger and bigger, and at last, when 
it could swell no more, beginning to rise, and to grow more 
and more restless. The ropes that held it were cut, and the 
huge machine floated aloft with the aeronaut and the 
basket containing the bottle and the rabbit, and the music 
sounded, and all the people cried, ' Hurrah ! ' 

' This is a wonderful passage, up into the air ! ' thought 
the Bottle ; ' this is a new way of sailing : at any rate, 
up here we cannot strike upon anything.' 

Thousands of people gazed up at the balloon, and the 
old maid looked up at it also ; she stood at the open window 
of the garret, in which hung the cage, with the little 
chaffinch, who had no water-glass as yet, but was obliged 
to be content with an old cup. In the window stood 
a myrtle in a pot ; and it had been put a little aside that 
it might not fall out, for the old maid was leaning out of the 
window to look, and she distinctly saw the aeronaut in the 
balloon, and how he let down the rabbit in the parachute, 
and then drank to the health of all the spectators, and at 
length hurled the bottle high in the air ; she never thought 
that this was the identical bottle which she had already once 
seen thrown aloft in honour of her and of her friend on the 
day of rejoicing in the greenwood, in the time of her youth. 

The bottle had no time for thought, for it was quite 
startled at thus suddenly reaching the highest point in its 
career. Steeples and roofs lay far, far beneath, and the 
people looked like mites. 


But now it began to descend with a much more rapid fall 
than that of the rabbit ; the bottle threw somersaults in 
the air, and felt quite young, and quite free and unfettered ; 
and yet it was half full of wine, though it did not remain 
so for long. What a journey ! The sun shone on the bottle, 
all the people were looking at it ; the balloon was already 
far away, and soon the bottle was far away too, for it fell 
upon a roof and broke ; but the pieces had got such an 
impetus that they could not stop themselves, but went 
jumping and rolling on till they came down into the court- 
yard and lay there in smaller pieces yet ; only the Bottle- 
neck managed to keep whole, and that was cut off as if it 
had been done with a diamond. 

' That would do capitally for a bird-glass,' said the cellar- 
man ; but he had neither a bird nor a cage ; and to expect 
him to provide both because they had found a bottle-neck 
that might be made available for a glass, would have been 
expecting too much ; but the old maid in the garret, 
perhaps it might be useful to her ; and now the Bottle- 
neck was taken up to her, and was provided with a cork. 
The part that had been uppermost was now turned down- 
wards, as often happens when changes take place ; fresh 
water was poured into it, and it was fastened to the cage 
of the little bird, which sang and twittered right merrily. 

' Yes, it 's very well for you to sing,' said the Bottle- 

And it was considered remarkable for having been in the 
balloon — for that was all they knew of its history. Now 
it hung there as a bird-glass, and heard the murmuring 
and noise of the people in the street below, and also the 
words of the old maid in the room within. An old friend 
had just come to visit her, and they talked — not of the 
Bottle-neck, but about the myrtle in the window. 

' No, you certainly must not spend two dollars for your 
daughter's bridal wreath,' said the old maid. ' You shall 
have a beautiful little nosegay from me, full of blossoms. 
Do you see how splendidly that tree has come on ? yes, that 
has been raised from a spray of the myrtle you gave me on 
the day after my betrothal, and from which I was to have 
made my own wreath when the year was past ; but that 
day never came ! The eyes closed that were to have been 


my joy and delight through Hfe. In the depths of the sea he 
sleeps sweetly, my dear one ! The myrtle has become an 
old tree, and I have become a yet older woman ; and when it 
faded at last, I took the last green shoot, and planted it in 
the ground, and it has become a great tree ; and now at 
length the myrtle will serve at the wedding — as a wreath 
for your daughter.' 

There were tears in the eyes of the old maid. She spoke 
of the beloved of her youth, of their betrothal in the wood ; 
many thoughts came to her, but the thought never came 
that, quite close to her, before the very window, was a 
remembrance of those times — the neck of the bottle which 
had shouted for joy when the cork flew out with a bang 
on the betrothal day. But the Bottle-neck did not recognize 
her either, for he was not listening to what she said — partly 
because it only thought about itself. 


Of course you know the story of Holger the Dane ; we 
are not going to tell you that, but will ask if you remember 
from it that ' Holger the Dane won the great land of India, 
east as far as the world's end, even to the tree which is 
called the Tree of the Sun,' as Christian Pedersen puts it. 
Do you know Christian Pedersen ? it doesn't matter if you 
don't. Holger the Dane gave Prester John power and 
authority over the land of India . Do you know Prester John ? 
it doesn't matter either if you don't know him, for he 
doesn't come into this story at all. You are to hear about 
the Tree of the Sun ' in India, east as far as the world's end ', 
and it was then understood by men who had not learned 
geography as we have : but that also does not matter at 
the present time. 

The Tree of the Sun was a noble tree, such as we have 
never seen and such as you will never see either. The 
crown stretched out several miles around ; it was really 
an entire wood ; each of its smallest branches formed, 
in its turn, a whole tree. Palms, beech trees, pines, plane 


trees, and various other kinds grew here, which are found 
scattered in all other parts of the world : they shot out 
like small branches from the great boughs, and these large 
boughs with their windings and knots formed, as it were, 
valleys and hills, clothed with velvety green and covered 
with flowers. Every branch was like a wide, blooming 
meadow, or like the most charming garden. The sun shone 
down on it with delightful rays, for it was the tree of the 
sun, and the birds from all quarters of the world assembled 
together — birds from the primaeval forests of America, the 
rose gardens of Damascus, from the deserts of Africa, in 
which the elephant and the lion boast of being the only 
rulers. The Polar birds came flying hither, and of course 
the stork and the swallow were not absent ; but the birds 
were not the only living beings : the stag, the squirrel, the 
antelope, and a hundred other beautiful and light-footed 
animals were at home. The crown of the tree was a wide- 
spread fragrant garden, and in the midst of it, where the 
great boughs raised themselves like green hillocks, there 
stood a castle of crystal, with a view of all the lands of the 
world. Each tower was reared in the form of a lily. Through 
the stem one could ascend, for within it was a winding stair; 
one could step out upon the leaves as upon balconies ; and 
up in the calyx of the flower itself was the most beautiful, 
sparkling round hall, above which no other roof rose but 
the blue firmament with sun and stars. 

Just as much splendour, though in another way, appeared 
below, in the wide halls of the castle. Here, on the walls, 
the whole world around was reflected. One saw everything 
that was done, so that there was no necessity for reading 
any papers, and indeed there were no papers there. Every- 
thing was to be seen in living pictures, if one only wished 
to see it ; for too much is still too much even for the wisest 
man ; and this man dwelt here. His name is very difficult 
— ^you will not be able to pronounce it, and therefore it 
may remain unmentioned. He knew everything that a man 
on earth can know or can get to know ; every invention 
which had already been or which was yet to be made was 
known to him ; but nothing more, for everything in the 
world has its limits. The wise King Solomon was only 
half as wise as he, and yet he was very wise, and governed 


the powers of nature, and held sway over potent spirits : 
yea, Death itself was obliged to give him every morning a list 
of those who were to die during the day. But King Solomon 
himself was obliged to die too ; and this thought it was 
which often in the deepest manner employed the inquirer, 
the mighty lord in the castle on the Tree of the Sun. He 
also, however high he might tower above men in wisdom, 
must die one day. He knew that he and his children also 
must fade away like the leaves of the forest, and become 
dust. He saw the human race fade away like the leaves on 
the tree ; saw new men come to fill their places ; but the 
leaves that fell off never sprouted forth again — they fell 
to dust or were transformed into other parts of plants. 

' What happens to man,' the wise man asked himself, 
' when the angel of death touches him ? What may death 
be ? The body is dissolved. And the soul ? Yes, what is 
the soul ? whither doth it go ? To eternal life, says the 
comforting voice of religion ; but what is the transition ? 
where does one live and how ? Above, in heaven, says the 
pious man, thither we go. Thither ? ' repeated the wise 
man, and fixed his eyes upon the sun and the stars ; ' up 
yonder ? ' 

But he saw, from the earthly ball, that up and down 
were one and the same, according as one stood here or 
there on the rolling globe ; and even if he mounted as high 
as the loftiest mountains of earth rear their heads, to the 
air which we below call clear and transparent — the pure 
heaven — a black darkness spread abroad like a cloth, and 
the sun had a coppery glow and sent forth no rays, and 
our earth lay wrapped in an orange -coloured mist. How 
narrow were the limits of the bodily eye, and how little the 
eye of the soul could see ! — how little did even the wisest 
know of that which is the most important to us all ! 

In the most secret chamber of the castle lay the greatest 
treasure of the earth : the Book of Truth. Leaf for leaf, the 
wise man read it through : every man may read in this 
book, but only by fragments. To many an eye the char- 
acters seem to tremble, so that the words cannot be put 
together ; on certain pages the writing often seems so 
pale, so faded, that only a blank leaf appears. The wiser 
a man becomes, the more he can read ; and the wisest 


read most. For that purpose he knew how to unite the 
sunlight and the starlight with the light of reason and of 
hidden powers ; and through this stronger light many 
things came clearly before him from the page. But in the 
division of the book whose title is ' Life after Death ' not 
even one point was to be distinctly seen. That pained 
him. Should he not be able here upon earth to obtain 
a light by which everything should become clear to him 
that stood written in the Book of Truth ? 

Like the wise King Solomon, he understood the language 
of the animals, and could interpret their talk and their 
songs. But that made him none the wiser. He found out 
the forces of plants and metals — the forces to be used for 
the cure of diseases, for delaying death — but none that 
could destroy death. In all created things that were within 
his reach he sought the light that should shine upon the 
certainty of an eternal life ; but he found it not. The Book 
of Truth lay before him with leaves that appeared blank. 
Christianity showed him in the Bible words of promise 
of an eternal life ; but he wanted to read it in his book, 
and in that he saw nothing. 

He had five children — four sons, educated as well as the 
children of the wisest father could be, and a daughter, fair, 
mild, and clever, but blind ; yet this appeared no loss to 
her — her father and brothers were eyes to her, and the 
vividness of her feelings saw for her. 

Never had the sons gone farther from the castle than the 
branches of the tree extended, still less the sister. They 
were happy children in the land of childhood — in the 
beautiful fragrant Tree of the Sun. Like all children, they 
were very glad when any story was related to them ; and 
the father told them many things that other children would 
not have understood ; but these were just as clever as 
most grown-up people are among us. He explained to 
them what they saw in living pictures on the castle walls — 
the doings of men and the march of events in all the lands 
of the earth ; and often the sons expressed the wish that 
they could be present at all the great deeds and take part 
in them ; and their father then told them that out in the 
world it was difficult and toilsome — that the world was not 
quite what it appeared to them from their beauteous 


home. He spoke to them of the true, the beautiful, and the 
good, and told them that these three things held the world 
together, and that under the pressure they had to endure 
they became hardened into a precious stone, clearer than the 
water of the diamond — a jewel whose splendour had value 
with God, and whose brightness outshone everything, and 
which was called the ' Stone of the Wise'. He told them that 
just as one through created things could attain to the know- 
ledge of God, so through men themselves one could attain 
to the certainty that such a jewel as the ' Stone of the Wise ' 
existed. He could not tell them any more about it, for 
he knew no more. This narration would have exceeded the 
perception of other children, but these children under- 
stood it, and at length other children, too, will learn to 
comprehend its meaning. 

They questioned their father concerning the true, the 
beautiful, and the good ; and he explained it to them, 
told them many things, and told them also that God, when 
He made man out of the dust of the earth, gave five 
kisses to His work — fiery kisses, heart kisses — ^which we 
now call the five senses. Through these the true, the 
beautiful, and the good is seen, perceived, and understood ; 
through these it is valued, protected, and furthered. Five 
senses have been given bodily and mentally, inwardly and 
outwardly, to body and soul. 

The children reflected deeply upon all these things ; 
they meditated upon them by day and night. Then the 
eldest of the brothers dreamed a splendid dream. Strangely 
enough, the second brother had the same dream, and the 
third, and the fourth brother likewise ; all of them dreamed 
exactly the same thing — namely, that each went out into 
the world and found the ' Stone of the Wise ', which gleamed 
like a beaming light on his forehead when, in the morning 
dawn, he rode back on his swift horse over the velvety 
green meadows of his home into the castle of his father ; 
and the jewel threw such a heavenly light and radiance 
upon the leaves of the book, that everything was illuminated 
that stood written concerning the life beyond the grave. 
But the sister dreamed nothing about going out into the 
wide world : it never entered her mind. Her world was 
her father's house. 


' I shall ride forth into the wide world,' said the eldest 
brother. ' I must try what life is like there, and go to and 
fro among men. I will practise only the good and the true ; 
with these I will protect the beautiful. Much shall change 
for the better when I am there.' 

Now his thoughts were bold and great, as our thoughts 
generally are at home in the corner of the hearth, before 
we have gone forth into the world and have encountered 
wind and rain, and thorns and thistles. 

In him and in all his brothers the five senses were highly 
developed, inwardly and outwardly ; but each of them 
had one sense which in keenness and development surpassed 
the other four. In the case of the eldest this was Sight. 
This was to do him especial service. He said he had eyes 
for all time, eyes for all nations, eyes that could look into 
the depths of the earth, where the treasures lie hidden, and 
deep into the hearts of men, as though nothing but a pane 
of glass were placed before them : he could read more 
than we can see on the cheek that blushes or grows pale, 
in the eye that weeps or smiles. Stags and antelopes 
escorted him to the boundary of his home towards the west, 
and there the wild swans received him and flew north-west. 
He followed them. And now he had gone far out into the 
world — far from the land of his father, that extended 
eastward to the end of the earth. 

But how he opened his eyes in astonishment ! Many 
things were here to be seen ; and many things appear very 
different, when a man beholds them with his own eyes, from 
when he merely sees them in a picture, as the son had done 
in his father's house, however faithful the picture may be. 
At the outset he nearly lost his eyes in astonishment at 
all the rubbish and all the masquerading stuff put forward 
to represent the beautiful ; but he did not quite lose them, 
he had other use for them. He wished to go thoroughly 
and honestly to work in the understanding of the beautiful, 
the true, and the good. But how were these represented in 
the world ? He saw that often the garland that belonged 
to the beautiful was given to the hideous ; that the good 
was often passed by without notice, while mediocrity was 
applauded when it should have been hissed off. People 
looked to the dress, and not to the wearer ; asked for 


a name, and not for desert ; and went more by reputation 
than by service. It was the same thing everywhere. 

' I see I must attack these things vigorously,' he said, 
and attacked them with vigour accordingly. 

But while he was looking for the truth, came the Evil 
One, the father of lies. Gladly would the fiend have plucked 
out the eyes of this Seer ; but that would have been too 
direct : the devil works in a more cunning way. He let 
him see and seek the true and the good ; but while the 
young man was contemplating them, the Evil Spirit blew 
one mote after another into each of his eyes ; and such 
a proceeding would be hurtful even to the best sight. 
Then the fiend blew upon the motes, so that they became 
beams ; and the eyes were destroyed, and the Seer stood 
like a bhnd man in the wide world, and had no faith in 
it : he lost his good opinion of it and himself ; and when 
a man gives up the world and himself, all is over with him. 

' Over ! ' said the wild swans, who flew across the sea 
towards the east. ' Over ! ' twittered the swallows, who 
likewise flew eastward, towards the Tree of the Sun. That 
was no good news for those at home. 

' I fancy the Seer must have fared badly,' said the second 
brother ; ' but the Hearer may have better fortune.' For 
this one possessed the sense of hearing in an eminent 
degree : he could hear the grass grow, so quick was he to hear. 

He took a hearty leave of all at home, and rode away, 
provided with good abilities and good intentions. The 
swallows escorted him, and he followed the swans ; and 
he stood far from his home in the wide world. 

But he experienced the fact that one may have too 
much of a good thing. His hearing was too fine. He not 
only heard the grass grow, but could hear every man's heart 
beat, in sorrow and in joy. The whole world was to him 
like a great clockmaker's workshop, wherein all the clocks 
were going * tick, tick ! ' and all the turret clocks striking 
* ding dong '. It was unbearable. For a long time his ears 
held out, but at last all the noise and screaming became 
too much for one man. There came blackguard boys of 
sixty years old — for it is not age that does it ; they roared 
and shouted in a way that one could laugh at ; but then 


came gossip, which whispered through all houses, lanes, 
and streets, right out to the high-way. Falsehood thrust 
itself forward and played the master ; the bells on the 
fool's cap jangled and declared they were church bells ; 
and the noise became too bad for the Hearer, and he 
thrust his fingers into both ears ; but still he could hear 
false singing and bad sounds, gossip and idle words, 
scandal and slander, groaning and moaning without and 
within. Heaven help us ! He thrust his fingers deeper and 
deeper into his ears, but at last the drums burst. Now 
he could hear nothing at all of the good, the true, and 
the beautiful, for his hearing was to have been the bridge 
by which he crossed. He became silent and suspicious, 
trusted no one at last, not even himself, and that is very 
unfortunate, and, no longer hoping to find and bring 
home the costly jewel, he gave it up, and gave himself 
up ; and that was the worst of all. The birds who winged 
their flight towards the east brought tidings of this, till 
the news reached the castle in the Tree of the Sun. 

I will try now ! ' said the third brother. ' I have a sharp 


Now that was not said in very good taste ; but it was 
his way, and one must take him as he was. He had a happy 
temper, and was a poet, a real poet : he could sing many 
things that he could not say, and many things struck him 
far earlier than they occurred to others. ' I can smell 
fire ! ' he said ; and he attributed to the sense of smelling, 
which he possessed in a very high degree, a great power 
in the region of the beautiful. 

'Every fragrant spot in the realm of the beautiful has 
its frequenters,' he said. ' One man feels at home in the 
atmosphere of the tavern, among the flaring tallow candles, 
where the smell of spirits mingles with the fumes of bad 
tobacco. Another prefers sitting among the overpowering 
scent of jessamine, or scenting himself with strong clove 
oil. This man seeks out the fresh sea breeze, while that one 
climbs to the highest mountain-top and looks down upon 
the busy little life beneath.' 

Thus he spake. It seemed to him as if he had already 
been out in the world, as if he had already associated with 


men and known them. But this experience arose from 
within himself : it was the poet within him, the gift of 
Heaven, and bestowed on him in his cradle. 

He bade farewell to his paternal roof in the Tree of the 
Sun, and departed on foot through the pleasant scenery 
of home. Arrived at its confines, he mounted on the back 
of an ostrich, which runs faster than a horse ; and after- 
wards, when he fell in with the wild swans, he swung 
himself on the strongest of them, for he loved change ; 
and away he flew over the sea to distant lands with great 
forests, deep lakes, mighty mountains, and proud cities ; 
and wherever he came it seemed as if sunshine travelled 
with him across the fields, for every flower, every bush, 
every tree exhaled a new fragrance, in the consciousness 
that a friend and protector was in the neighbourhood, who 
understood them and knew their value. The crippled rose 
bush reared up its twigs, unfolded its leaves, and bore the 
most beautiful roses ; every one could see it, and even the 
black damp Wood Snail noticed its beauty. 

' I will give my seal to the flower,' said the Snail ; ' I 
have spit on it, and I can do no more for it.' 

' Thus it always fares with the beautiful in this world ! ' 
said the poet. 

And he sang a song concerning it, sang it in his own way ; 
but nobody listened. Then he gave the drummer twopence 
and a peacock's feather, and set the song for the drum, and 
had it drummed in all the streets of the town ; and the 
people heard it, and said that they understood it, it was so 
deep. Then the poet sang several songs of the beautiful, the 
true, and the good. His songs were listened to in the tavern, 
where the tallow candles smoked, in the fresh meadow, in the 
forest, and on the high seas. It appeared as if this brother 
was to have better fortune than the two others. But the 
Evil Spirit was angry at this, and accordingly he set to work 
with incense powder and incense smoke, which he can prepare 
so artfully as to confuse an angel, and how much more 
therefore a poor poet ! The Evil One knows how to take 
that kind of people ! He surrounded the poet so com- 
pletely with incense, that the man lost his head, and forgot 
his mission and his home, and at last himself — and ended 
in smoke. 


But when the httle birds heard of this they mourned, 
and for three days they sang not one song. The black Wood 
Snail became blacker still, not for grief, but for envy. 

' They should have strewed incense for me,' she said, 
' for it was I who gave him his idea of the most famous of 
his songs, the drum song of "The Way of the World " ; it was 
I who spat upon the rose ! I can bring witness to the fact.' 

But no tidings of all this penetrated to the poet's home 
in India, for all the birds were silent for three days ; and 
when the time of mourning was over, their grief had been 
so deep that they had forgotten for whom they wept. 
That 's the usual way ! 

' Now I shall have to go out into the world, to disappear 
like the rest,' said the fourth brother. 

He had just as good a humour as the third, but he was 
no poet, and so he had good reason to have good humour. 
Those two had filled the castle with cheerfulness, and now 
the last cheerfulness was going away. Sight and hearing 
have always been looked upon as the two chief senses of men, 
and as the two that it is most desirable to sharpen ; the other 
senses are looked upon as of less consequence. But that was 
not the opinion of this son, as he had especially cultivated 
his taste in every respect, and taste is very powerful. It holds 
sway over what goes into the mouth, and also over what pene- 
trates into the mind ; and consequently this brother tasted 
everything that was stored up in bottles and pots, saying 
that this was the rough work of his office. Every man 
was to him a vessel in which something was seething, every 
country an enormous kitchen, a kitchen of the mind. 

' That was the fine work,' he said ; and he wanted to 
go out and try what was delicate. ' Perhaps fortune may 
be more favourable to me than it was to my brothers,' 
he said. ' I shall start on my travels. But what conveyance 
shall I choose ? Are air balloons invented yet ? ' he asked 
his father, who knew of all inventions that had been made 
or that were to be made. But air balloons had not yet been 
invented, nor steam -ships, nor railways. ' Good : then 
I shall choose an air balloon,' he said ; ' my father knows 
how they are made and guided. Nobody has invented 
them yet, and consequently the people will believe that it 


is an aerial phantom. When I have used the balloon 
I will burn it, and for this purpose you must give me a few 
pieces of the invention that will be made next — I mean 
chemical matches.' 

And he obtained what he wanted, and flew away. The 
birds accompanied him farther than they had flown with 
the other brothers. They were curious to know what would 
be the result of the flight, and more of them came sweeping 
up : they thought he was some new bird ; and he soon 
had a goodly following. The air became black with birds, 
they came on like a cloud — like the cloud of locusts over 
the land of Egypt. 

Now he was out in the wide world. 

' I have had a good friend and helper in the East Wind,' 
he said. 

' The East and the West Wind, you mean,' said the 
winds. ' We have been both at work, otherwise you would 
not have come north-west.' 

But he did not hear what the winds said, and it does not 
matter either. The birds had also ceased to accompany him. 
When they were most numerous, a few of them became 
tired of the journey. Too much was made of this kind of 
thing, they said. He had got fancies into his head. ' There 
is nothing at all to fly after ; there is nothing ; it 's quite 
stupid ; ' and so they stayed behind, the whole flock of them. 

The air balloon descended over one of the greatest 
cities, and the aeronaut took up his station on the highest 
point, on the church steeple. The balloon rose again, 
which it ought not to have done : where it went to is not 
known, but that was not a matter of consequence, for it 
was not yet invented. Then he sat on the church steeple. 
The birds no longer hovered around him, they had got 
tired of him, and he was tired of them. 

All the chimneys in the town were smoking merrily. 

' Those are altars erected to thy honour ! ' said the Wind, 
who wished to say something agreeable to him. 

He sat boldly up there, and looked down upon the 
people in the street. There was one stepping along, proud 
of his purse, another of the key he carried at his girdle, 
though he had nothing to unlock ; one proud of his moth- 
eaten coat, another of his wasted body. 


' Vanity ! I must hasten downward, dip my finger in 
the pot, and taste ! ' he said. ' But for a while I will still 
sit here, for the wind blows so pleasantly against my back. 
I'll sit here as long as the wind blows. I'll enjoy a slight 
rest. "It is good to sleep long in the morning, when one 
has much to do," says the lazy man, but laziness is the 
root of all evil, and there is no evil in our family. I'll stop 
here as long as this wind blows, for it pleases me.' 

And there he sat, but he was sitting upon the weather- 
cock of the steeple, which kept turning round and round 
with him, so that he thought that the same wind still 
blew ; so he might stay up there a goodly while. 

But in India, in the castle in the Tree of the Sun, it was 
solitary and still, since the brothers had gone away one 
after the other. 

'It goes not well with them,' said the father ; ' they will 
never bring the gleaming jewel home ; it is not made for 
me : they are gone, they are dead ! ' 

And he bent down over the Book of Truth, and gazed 
at the page on which he should read of life after death ; 
but for him nothing was to be seen or learned upon it. 

The blind daughter was his consolation and joy ; she 
attached herself with sincere affection to him, and for the 
sake of his peace and joy she wished the costly jewel might 
be found and brought home. With sorrow and longing 
she thought of her brothers. Where were they ? Where 
did they live ? She wished sincerely that she might dream 
of them, but it was strange, not even in dreams could she 
approach them. But at length, one night she dreamed 
that the voices of her brothers sounded across to her, 
calling to her from the wide world, and she could not 
refrain, but went far far out, and yet it seemed in her dream 
that she was still in her father's house. She did not meet 
her brothers, but she felt, as it were, a fire burning in her 
hand, but it did not hurt her, for it was the jewel she was 
bringing to her father. When she awoke, she thought for 
a moment that she still held the stone, but it was the 
knob of her distaff that she was grasping. During the 
long nights she had spun incessantly, and round the distaff 
was turned a thread, finer than the finest web of the spider ; 


human eyes were unable to distinguish the separate threads. 
She had wetted them with her tears, and the twist was strong 
as a cable. She rose, and her resolution was taken : the 
dream must be made a reality. It was night, and her father 
slept. She pressed a kiss upon his hand, and then took her 
distaff, and fastened the end of the thread to her father's 
house. But for this, blind as she was, she would never 
have found her way home ; to the thread she must hold 
fast, and trust not to herself or to others. From the Tree 
of the Sun she broke four leaves ; these she would confide 
to wind and weather, that they might fly to her brothers 
as a letter and a greeting, in case she did not meet them 
in the wide w^orld. How would she fare out there, she, the 
poor blind child ? But she had the invisible thread to 
which she could hold fast. She possessed a gift which all 
the others lacked. This was thoroughness ; and in virtue 
of this it seemed as if she had eyes at the tips of her fingers 
and ears down in her very heart. 

And quietly she went forth into the noisy, whirling, 
wonderful world, and wherever she went the sky grew bright 
—she felt the w arm ray — the rainbow spread itself out from 
the dark cloud through the blue air. She heard the song 
of the birds, and smelt the scent of orange groves and 
apple orchards so strongly that she seemed to taste it. Soft 
tones and charming songs reached her ear, but also howling 
and roaring, and thoughts and opinions sounded in strange 
contradiction to each other. Into the innermost depths of 
her heart , penetrated the echoes of human thoughts and 
feelings. One chorus sounded darkly — 

The life of earth is a shadow vain 
A night created for sorrow ! 

but then came another strain — 

The life of earth is the scent of the rose, 
With its sunshine and its pleasure. 

And if one strophe sounded painfully — 

Each mortal thinks of himself alone, 
This truth has been shown, how often ! 

on the other side the answer pealed forth — 

A mighty stream of warmest love 
All through the World shall bear us. 


She heard, indeed, the words — 

In the little petty whirl here below. 
Each thing shows mean and paltry j 

but then came also the comfort — 

Many things great and good are achieved, 
That the ear of man heareth never. 

And if sometimes the mocking strain sounded around her — 

Join in the common cry ; with a jest 
Destroy the good gifts of the Giver, 

in the bhnd girl's heart a stronger voice repeated — 

To trust in thyself and in God is best ; 
His will be done for ever. 

And whenever she entered the circle of human kind, and 
appeared among young or old, the knowledge of the true, 
the good, and the beautiful beamed into their hearts. 
Whether she entered the study of the artist, or the festive 
decorated hall, or the crowded factory, with its whirring 
wheels, it seemed as though a sunbeam were stealing in 
— ^as if the sweet string sounded, the flower exhaled its 
perfume, and a living dew-drop fell upon the exhausted 

But the Evil Spirit could not see this and be content. 
He has more cunning than ten thousand men, and he found 
out a way to compass his end. He betook himself to the 
marsh, collected little bubbles of the stagnant water, 
and passed over them a sevenfold echo of lying words to 
give them strength. Then he pounded up paid-for eulogies 
and lying epitaphs, as many as he could get, boiled them in 
tears that envy had shed, put upon them rouge he had 
scraped from faded cheeks, and of these he composed a 
maiden, with the aspect and gait of the blessed blind girl, 
the angel of thoroughness ; and then the Evil One's plot 
was in full progress. The world knew not which of the two 
was the true one ; and, indeed, how should the world know ? 

' To trust in thyself and in God is best ; 
His good ^vill be done for ever,' 

sang the blind girl, in full faith. She entrusted the four 
green leaves from the Tree of the Sun to the winds, as 


a letter and a greeting to her brothers, and had full confi- 
dence that they would reach their destination, and that the 
jewel would be found which outshines all the glories of 
the world. From the forehead of humanity it would gleam 
even to the castle of her father. 

' Even to my father's house,' she repeated. ' Yes, the- 
place of the jewel is on earth, and I shall bring more than 
the promise of it with me. I feel its glow, it swells more 
and more in my closed hand. Every grain of truth, were 
it never so fine, which the sharp wind carried up and 
whirled towards me, I took up and treasured ; I let it be 
penetrated by the fragrance of the beautiful, of which 
there is so much in the world, even for the blind. I took 
the sound of the beating heart engaged in what is good, 
and added it to the first. All that I bring is but dust, but 
still it is the dust of the jewel we seek, and in plenty. I 
have my whole hand full of it.' 

And she stretched forth her hand towards her father. 
She was soon at home — she had travelled thither in the 
fiight of thoughts, never having quitted her hold of the 
invisible thread from the paternal home. 

The evil powers rushed with hurricane fury over the 
Tree of the Sun, pressed with a wind-blast against the 
open doors, and into the sanctuary. 

' It will be bloTMi away by the wind ! ' said the father, 
and he seized the hand she had opened. 

'No,' she replied, with quiet confidence, ' it cannot be 
blown away ; I feel the beam warming my very soul.' 

And the father became aware of a glancing flame, 
there where the shining dust poured out of her hand over 
the Book of Truth, that was to tell of the certainty of an 
everlasting life ; and on it stood one shining word — one 
only word — ' Faith.' 

And with the father and daughter were again the four 
brothers. When the green leaf fell upon the bosom of each, 
a longing for home had seized them and led them back. 
They had arrived. The birds of passage, and the stag, the 
antelope, and all the creatures of the forest followed them, 
for all wished to have a part in their joy. 

We have often seen, where a sunbeam bursts through 
a crack in the door into the dustv room, how a whirling 


column of dust seems circling round ; but this was not 
poor and insignificant like common dust, for even the 
rainbow is dead in colour compared with the beauty which 
showed itself. Thus, from the leaf of the book with the 
beaming word ' Faith ', arose every grain of truth, decked 
with the charms of the beautiful and the good, burning 
brighter than the mighty pillar of flame that led Moses and 
the children of Israel through the desert ; and from the 
word 'Faith ' went the bridge of Hope the Infinite. 



' That was a remarkably fine dinner yesterday,' observed 
an old Mouse of the female sex to another who had not been 
at the festive gathering. ' I sat number twenty-one from 
the old Mouse King, so that I was not badly placed. Should 
you like to hear the order of the banquet ? The courses 
were very well arranged — mouldy bread, bacon rind, tallow 
candle, and sausage — and then the same dishes over again 
from the beginning : it was just as good as having two 
banquets on end. There was as much joviality and 
agreeable jesting as in the family circle. Nothing was left 
but the pegs at the ends of the sausages. And the discourse 
turned upon these ; and at last the expression, " Soup on 
a sausage-peg," was mentioned. Every one had heard the 
proverb, but no one had ever tasted the sausage-peg soup, 
much less knew how to prepare it. A capital toast was 
drunk to the inventor of the soup, and it was said he 
deserved to be a relieving officer. Was not that witty ? 
And the old Mouse King stood up, and promised that the 
young mouse who could best prepare that soup should be 
his queen ; and a year was allowed for the trial.' 

' That was not at all bad,' said the other Mouse ; ' but 
how does one prepare this soup ? ' 

' Ah, how is it prepared ? That is just what all the 
young female mice, and the old ones too, are asking. They 
would all very much like to be queen ; but they don't want 


to take the trouble to go out into the world to learn how 
to prepare the soup, and that they would certainly have 
to do. But every one has not the gift of leaving the family 
circle and the chimney corner. Away from home one 
can't get cheese rinds and bacon every day. No, one must 
bear hunger, and perhaps be eaten up alive by a cat.' 

Such were no doubt the thoughts by which most of them 
were scared from going out to gain information. Only four 
Mice announced themselves ready to depart. They were 
young and brisk, but poor. Each of them would go to 
one of the four quarters of the globe, and then it was 
a question which of them was favoured by fortune. Every 
one took a sausage-peg, so as to keep in mind the object 
of the journey. This was to be their pilgrim's staff. 

It was at the beginning of May that they set cut, and 
they did not return till the May of the following year ; 
and then only three of them appeared. The fourth did not 
report herself, nor was there any intelHgence of her, though 
the day of trial was close at hand. 

' Yes, there 's always some drawback in even the 
pleasantest affair,' said the Mouse King. 

And then he gave orders that all mice within a circuit of 
many miles should be invited. They were to assemble 
in the kitchen, the three travelled Mice stood in a row by 
themselves, while a sausage-peg, shrouded in crape, was 
set up as a memento of the fourth, who w^as missing. No 
one was to proclaim his opinion before the three had spoken 
and the Mouse King had settled what was to be said further. 
And now let us hear. 


What the First little Mouse had seen and learned 
IN HER Travels 

' When I went out into the wide world,' said the little 
Mouse, ' I thought, as many think at my age, that I had 
already learned everything ; but that was not the case. 
Years must pass before one gets so far. I went to sea at 
once. I went in a ship that steered towards the north. 

AXD. F. T. 3 


They had told me that the ship's cook must know how 
to manage things at sea ; but it is easy enough to manage 
things when one has plenty of sides of bacon, and whole 
tubs of salt pork, and mouldy flour. One has delicate 
living on board ; but one does not learn to prepare soup on 
a sausage-peg. We sailed along for many days and nights ; 
the ship rocked fearfully, and we did not get off without 
a wetting. When we at last reached the port to which 
we were bound, I left the ship ; and it was high up in 
the far north. 

' It is a wonderful thing, to go out of one's own corner 
at home, and sail in a ship, where one has a sort of corner 
too, and then suddenly to find oneself hundreds of miles 
away in a strange land. I saw great pathless forests of pine 
and birch, which smelt so strong that I sneezed, and thought 
of sausage. There were great lakes there too. When I came 
close to them the waters were quite clear, but from a distance 
they looked black as ink. White swans floated upon them : 
I thought at first they were spots of foam, they lay so still ; 
but then I saw them walk and fly, and I recognized them. 
They belong to the goose family — one can see that by their 
walk ; for no one can deny his parentage. I kept with 
my own kind. I associated with the forest and field mice, 
who, by the way, know very little, especially as regards 
cookery, though this was the very thing that had brought 
me abroad. The thought that soup might be boiled on 
a sausage-peg was such a startling idea to them, that it 
flew at once from mouth to mouth through the whole 
forest. They declared the problem could never be solved ; 
and little did I think that there, on the very first night, 
I should be initiated into the method of its preparation. 
It was in the height of summer, and that, the mice said, 
was the reason why the wood smelt so strongly, and why 
the herbs were so fragrant, and the lakes so clear and yet so 
dark, with the white swans on them. 

' On the margin of the wood, among three or four houses, 
a pole as tall as the mainmast of a ship had been erected, 
and from its summit hung wreaths and ribbons : this was 
called a maypole. Men and maids danced round the tree, 
and sang as loudly as they could, to the violin of the fiddler. 
There were merry doings at sundown and in the moonlight, 


but I took no part in them — what has a little mouse to do 
with a May dance ? I sat in the soft moss and held my 
sausage-peg fast. The moon shone especially upon one 
spot, where a tree stood, covered with moss so fine that I may 
almost venture to say it was as fine as the skin of the 
Mouse King ; but it was of a green colour, so that it was 
a great relief to the eye. 

' All at once, the most charming little people came 
marching forth. They were only tall enough to reach to 
my knee. They looked like men, but were better pro- 
portioned : they called themselves elves, and had delicate 
clothes on, of flower leaves trimmed with the wings of 
flies and gnats, which had a very good appearance. Directly 
they appeared, they seemed to be seeking for something — 
I knew not what ; but at last some of them came towards 
me, and the chief pointed to my sausage-peg, and said, 
" That is just such a one as we want — it is pointed — it is 
capital ! " and the longer he looked at my pilgrim's staff 
the more delighted he became. 

' " I will lend it," I said, " but not to keep." 

' " Not to keep ! " they all repeated ; and they seized 
the sausage-peg, which I gave up to them, and danced away 
to the spot where the fine moss grew ; and here they set 
up the peg in the midst of the green. They wanted to have 
a maypole of their own, and the one they now had, seemed 
cut out for them ; and they decorated it so that it was 
beautiful to behold. 

' Eirst, little spiders spun it round with gold thread, and 
hung it all over with fluttering veils and flags, so finely 
woven, bleached so snowy white in the moonshine, that 
they dazzled my eyes. They took colours from the butter- 
fly's wing, and strewed these over the white linen, and 
flowers and diamonds gleamed upon it, so that I did not 
know my sausage -peg again : there is not in all the world 
such a maypole as they had made of it. And now came the 
real great party of elves. They were quite without clothes, 
and looked as dainty as possible ; and they invited me to 
be present ; but I was to keep at a distance, for I was too 
large for them. 

' And now began such music ! It sounded like thousands 
of glass bells, so full, so rich, that I thought the swans were 


singing. I fancied also that I heard the voice of the cuckoo 
and the blackbird, and at last the whole forest seemed to 
join in. I heard children's voices, the sound of bells, and 
the song of birds ; the most glorious melodies — and all 
came from the elves' maypole, namely, my sausage-peg. 
I should never have believed that so much could come out 
of it ; but that depends very much upon the hands into 
which it falls. I was quite touched. I wept, as a little 
mouse may weep, with pure pleasure. 

' The night was far too short ; but it is not longer up 
yonder at that season. In the morning dawn the breeze 
began to blow, the mirror of the forest lake was covered 
with ripples, and all the delicate veils and flags fluttered 
away in the air. The waving garlands of spiders' web, 
the hanging bridges and balustrades, and whatever else 
they are called, flew away as if they were nothing at all. 
Six elves brought me back my sausage-peg, and asked me 
at the same time if I had any wish that they could gratify ; 
so I asked them if they could tell me how soup was made 
on a sausage-peg. 

' " How K;e do it ? " asked the chief of the elves, with 
a smile. " Why, you have just seen it. I fancy you 
hardly knew your sausage-peg again ? " 

' " You only mean that as a joke," I replied. And then 
I told them in so many words, why I had undertaken 
a journey, and what hopes were founded on it at home. 
" What advantage," I asked, " can it be to our Mouse King, 
and to our whole powerful state, from the fact of my having 
witnessed all this festivity ? I cannot shake it out of the 
sausage-peg, and say, ' Look, here is the peg, now the 
soup will come.' That would be a dish that could only 
be put on the table when the guests had dined." 

' Then the elf dipped his little finger into the cup of a blue 
violet, and said to me, 

' " See here ! I will anoint your pilgrim's staff ; and when 
you go back home to the castle of the Mouse King, you 
have but to touch his warm breast with the staff, and violets 
will spring forth and cover its whole staff, even in the 
coldest winter-time. And so I think I've given you 
something to carry home, and a little more than 
something ! " ' 


But before the little Mouse said what this ' something 
more ' was, she stretched her staff out towards the King's 
breast, and in very truth the most beautiful bunch of violets 
burst forth ; and the scent was so powerful that the Mouse 
King incontinently ordered the mice who stood nearest 
the chimney to thrust their tails into the fire and create 
a smell of burning, for the odour of the violets was not to be 
borne, and was not of the kind he liked. 

' But what was the " something more ", of which you 
spoke ? ' asked the Mouse King. 

' Why,' the little Mouse answered, ' I think it is what 
they call effect ! ' and herewith she turned the staff round, 
and lo ! there was not a single flower to be seen upon it ; 
she only held the naked skewer, and lifted this up like 
a music baton. ' " Violets," the elf said to me, " are for 
sight, and smell, and touch. Therefore it yet remains to 
provide for hearing and taste ! " ' 

And now the little Mouse began to beat time ; and music 
was heard, not such as sounded in the forest among the 
elves, but such as is heard in the kitchen. There was a 
bubbling sound of boiling and roasting ; and all at once it 
seemed as if the sound were rushing through every chimney, 
and pots or kettles were boiling over. The fire-shovel 
hammered upon the brass kettle, and then, on a sudden, 
all was quiet again. They heard the quiet subdued song 
of the tea-kettle, and it was wonderful to hear — they could 
not quite tell if the kettle were beginning to sing or leaving 
off ; and the little pot simmered, and the big pot simmered, 
and neither cared for the other : there seemed to be no 
reason at all in the pots. And the little Mouse flourished 
her baton more and more wildly ; the pots foamed, threw 
up large bubbles, boiled over, and the wind roared and 
whistled through the chimney. Oh ! it became so terrible 
that the little Mouse lost her stick at last. 

' That was a heavy soup ! ' said the Mouse King. ' Shall 
we not soon hear about the preparation ? ' 

' That was all,' said the little Mouse, with a bow. 

* That all ! Then we should be glad to hear what the 
next has to relate,' said the Mouse King. 



What the Second little Mouse had to tell 

' I was born in the palace library,' said the second 
Mouse. ' I and several members of our family never knew 
the happiness of getting into the dining-room, much less into 
the store-room ; on my journey, and here to-day, are the 
only times I have seen a kitchen. We have indeed often 
been compelled to suffer hunger in the library, but we got 
a good deal of knowledge. The rumour penetrated even to 
us, of the royal prize offered to those who could cook soup 
upon a sausage -peg ; and it was my old grandmother who 
thereupon ferreted out a manuscript, which she certainly 
could not read, but which she had heard read out, and in 
which it was written : " Those who are poets can boil 
soup upon a sausage-peg." She asked me if I were a poet. 
I felt quite innocent of that, and then she told me I must 
go out, and manage to become one. I again asked what was 
required for that, for it was as difficult for me to find that 
out as to prepare the soup ; but grandmother had heard 
a good deal of reading, and she said that three things 
were especially necessary: "Understanding, imagination, 
feeling — if you can go and get these into you, you are a poet, 
and the sausage -peg affair will be quite easy to you." 

' And I went forth, and marched towards the west, away 
into the wide world, to become a poet. 

' Understanding is the most important thing in every 
affair. I knew that, for the two other things are not held 
in half such respect, and consequently I went out first to 
seek understanding. Yes, where does that dwell? "Go 
to the ant and be wise," said the great King of the Jews ; 
I knew that from the library ; and I never stopped till 
I came to the first great ant-hill, and there I placed myself 
on the watch, to become wise. 

' The ants are a respectable people. They are under- 
standing itself. Everything with them is like a well- 
worked sum, that comes right. To work and to lay eggs, 
they say, is to live while you live, and to jDrovide for 
posterity ; and accordingly that is what they do. They 
were divided into the clean and the dirty ants. The rank 


of each is indicated by a number, and the ant queen is 
number one ; and her view is the only correct one, she 
has absorbed all wisdom ; and that was important for me 
to know. She spoke so much, and it was all so clever, that 
it sounded to me like nonsense. She declared her ant-hill 
was the loftiest thing in the world ; though close by it 
grew a tree, which was certainly loftier, much loftier, that 
could not be denied, and therefore it was never mentioned. 
One evening an ant had lost herself upon the tree ; she 
had crept up the stem — not up to the crown, but higher 
than any ant had climbed until then ; and when she turned, 
and came back home, she talked of something far higher 
than the ant-hill that she had found ; but the other ants 
considered that an insult to the whole community, and 
consequently she was condemned to wear a muzzle, and 
to continual solitary confinement. But a short time after- 
wards another ant got on the tree, and made the same 
journey and the same discovery : and this one spoke about 
it with caution and indefiniteness, as they said; and as, 
moreover, she was one of the pure ants and very much 
respected, they believed her ; and when she died they 
erected an egg-shell as a memorial of her, for they had 
a great respect for the sciences. I saw,' continued the little 
Mouse, ' that the ants are always running to and fro with 
their eggs on their backs. One of them once dropped her 
egg ; she exerted herself greatly to pick it up again, but 
she could not succeed. Then two others came up, and 
helped her with all their might, insomuch that they nearly 
dropped their own eggs over it ; but then they stopped 
helping at once, for each should think of himself first — 
the ant queen had declared that by so doing they exhibited 
at once heart and understanding. 

' "These two qualities," she said, "place us ants on the 
highest step among all reasoning beings. Understanding 
must and shall be the predominant thing, and I have the 
greatest share of understanding." And so saying, she 
raised herself on her hind legs, so that she was easily to 
be recognized. I could not be mistaken, and I ate her up. 
Go to the ant and be wise — and I had got the queen ! 

'I now proceeded nearer to the before -mentioned lofty 
tree. It was an oak, and had a great trunk and a far-spread- 


ing top, and was very old. I knew that a living being 
dwelt here, a Dryad as it is called, who is born with the 
tree, and dies with it. I had heard about this in the 
library ; and now I saw an oak tree and an oak girl. She 
uttered a piercing cry when she saw me so near. Like all 
females, she was very much afraid of mice ; and she had 
more ground for fear than others, for I might have gnawed 
through the stem of the tree on which her life depended. 
I spoke to her in a friendly and intimate way, and bade 
her take courage. And she took me up in her delicate 
hand ; and when I had told her my reason for coming out 
into the wide world, she promised me that perhaps on that 
very evening I should have one of the two treasures of which 
I was still in quest. She told me that Phantasy was her 
very good friend, that he was beautiful as the god of love, 
and that he rested many an hour under the leafy boughs of 
the tree, which then rustled more strongly than ever over 
the pair of them. He called her his Dryad, she said, and 
the tree his tree, for the grand gnarled oak was just to his 
taste, with its root burrowing so deep in the earth and the 
stem and crown rising so high out in the fresh air, and 
knowing the beating snow, and the sharp wind, and the 
warm sunshine, as they deserve to be known. " Yes," 
the Dryad continued, " the birds sing aloft there and tell 
of strange countries ; and on the only dead bough the 
stork has built a nest which is highly ornamental, and, 
moreover, one gets to hear something of the land of the 
pyramids. All that is very pleasing to Phantasy ; but it 
is not enough for him : I myself must tell him of life in the 
woods, when I was little, and the tree such a delicate thing 
that a stinging-nettle overshadowed it — and I have to tell 
everything, till now that the tree is great and strong. Sit 
you down under the green woodruff, and pay attention ; 
and when Phantasy comes, I shall find an opportunity to 
pinch his wings, and to pull out a little feather. Take 
that — no better is given to any poet — and it will be enough 
for you ! " 

' And when Phantasy came the feather was plucked, 
and I seized it,' said the little Mouse. ' I held it in water, till 
it grew soft. It was very hard to digest, but I nibbled it 
up at last. It is not at all easy to gnaw oneself into being 


a poet, there are so many things one must take into oneself. 
Now I had these two things, imagination and understanding, 
and through these I knew that the third was to be found in 
the hbrary ; for a great man has said and written that there 
are romances whose sole and single use is that they relieve 
people of their superfluous tears, and that they are, in fact, 
like sponges sucking up human emotion. I remembered 
a few of these old books, which had always looked especially 
palatable, and were much thumbed and very greasy, 
having evidently absorbed a great deal of feehng into 

' I betook myself back to the library, and devoured 
nearly a whole novel — that is, the essence of it, the soft 
part /for I left the crust or binding. When I had digested 
this, and a second one in addition, I felt a stirring within 
me, and I ate a bit of a third romance, and now I was a poet. 
I said so to myself, and told the others also. I had headache, 
and stomach-ache, and I can't tell what aches besides. 
I began thinking what kind of stories could be made to 
refer to a sausage -peg ; and many pegs came into my mind 
— the ant queen must have had a particularly fine under- 
standing. I remembered the man who took a white peg 
in Ms mouth, and then both he and the peg were invisible. 
I thought of being screwed up a peg, of standing on one's 
own pegs, and of driving a peg into one's own cofhn. All 
mj^ thoughts ran upon pegs ; and when one is a poet (and 
I am a poet, for I have worked most terribly hard to 
become one) a person can make poetry on these subjects. 
I shall therefore be able to wait upon you every day with 
a poem or a history — and that's the soup I have to offer.' 

' Let us hear what the third has to say,' said the Mouse 

' Peep ! peep ! ' was heard at the kitchen door, and 
a little Mouse — it was the fourth of them, the one whom 
they looked upon as dead — shot in like an arrow. She 
toppled the sausage-peg with the crape covering over. 
She had been running day and night, and had travelled 
on the railway, in the goods train, having watched her 
opportunity, and yet she had almost come too late. She 
pressed forward, looking very much rumpled, and she had 
lost her sausage-peg, but not her voice, for she at once took 


up the word, as if they had been waiting only for her, 
and wanted to hear none but her, and as if everything else 
in the world were of no consequence. She spoke at once, 
and spoke fully : she had appeared so suddenly that no 
one found time to object to her speech or to her, while she 
was speaking. And now let us hear her. 


What the Fourth Mouse, who spoke before the Third 
had spoken, had to tell 

I went immediately to the largest town,' she said ; 
'the name has escaped me — I have a bad memory for names. 
From the railway I was carried, with some confiscated goods, 
to the council-house, and there I ran into the dwelling of 
the jailer. The jailer was talking of his prisoners, and 
especially of one, who had spoken unconsidered words. 
These words had given rise to others, and these latter had 
been written down and recorded. 

* " The whole thing is soup on a sausage-peg," said the 
jailer ; " but the soup may cost him his neck." 

' Now, this gave me an interest in the prisoner,' continued 
the Mouse, ' and I watched my opportunity and slipped 
into his prison — for there 's a mouse -hole to be found 
behind every locked door. The prisoner looked pale, and 
had a great beard and bright sparkling eyes. The lamp 
smoked, but the walls were so accustomed to that, that 
they grew none the blacker for it. The prisoner scratched 
pictures and verses in white upon the black ground, but 
I did not read them. I think he found it tedious, and 
I was a welcome guest. He lured me with bread crumbs, 
with whistling, and with friendly words : he was glad to 
see me, and I got to trust him, and we became friends. 
He shared with me his bread and water, gave me cheese 
and sausage ; I lived well, but I must say that it was 
especially the good society that kept me there. He let 
me run upon his hand, his arm, and into his sleeve ; he 
let me creep about in liis beard, and called me his little 
friend. I really got to love him, for these things are 
reciprocal. I forgot my mission in the wide world, forgot 


my sausage -peg in a crack in the floor — it 's lying there 
still. I wished to stay where I was, for if I went away the 
poor prisoner would have no one at all, and that 's having 
too little, in this world. / stayed, but he did not stay. He 
spoke to me very mournfully the last time, gave me twice 
as much bread and cheese as usual, and kissed his hand to 
me ; then he went away, and never came back. I don't 
know his history. 

' " Soup on a sausage-peg ! " said the jailer, to whom 
I now went ; but I should not have trusted him. He 
took me in his hand, certainly, but he popped me into 
a cage, a treadmill. That 's a horrible engine, in which 
you go round and round without getting any farther ; 
and people laugh at you into the bargain. 

' The jailer's granddaughter was a charming little thing, 
with a mass of curly hair that shone like gold, and such 
merry eyes, and such a smiling mouth ! 

' " You poor little mouse," she said, as she peeped into 
my ugly cage ; and she drew out the iron rod, and forth 
I jumped to the window board, and from thence to the 
roof spout. Free ! free ! I thought only of that, and not 
of the goal of my journey. 

' It was dark, and night was coming on. I took up my 
quarters in an old tower, where dwelt a watchman and 
an owl. I trusted neither of them, and the owl least. 
That is a creature like a cat, who has the great failing that 
she eats mice. But one may be mistaken, and so was I, 
for this was a very respectable, well-educated old owl : she 
knew more than the watchman, and as much as I. The 
young owls were always making a racket ; but " Do not 
make soup on a sausage -peg " were the hardest words she 
could prevail on herself to utter, she was so fondly attached 
to her family. Her conduct inspired me with so much 
confidence, that from the crack in which I was crouching 
I called out " Peep ! " to her. This confidence of mine 
pleased her hugely, and she assured me I should be under 
her protection, and that no creature should be allowe4 to 
do me wrong ; she would reserve me for herself, for the 
winter, when there would be short commons. 

' She was in every respect a clever woman, and explained 
to me how the watchman could only " whoop " with the 


horn that hung at his side, adding, "He is terribly conceited 
about it, and imagines he 's an owl in the tower. Wants 
to do great things, but is very small — soup on a sausage- 
peg ! " 

' I begged the owl to give me the recipe for this soup, 
and then she explained the matter to me. 

' " Soup on a sausage-peg," she said, " was only a human 
proverb, and was understood in different ways : Each 
thinks his own way the best, but the whole really signifies 

' " Nothing ! " I exclaimed. I was quite struck. Truth 
is not always agreeable, but truth is above everything ; 
and that 's what the old owl said. I now thought about 
it, and readily perceived that if I brought what was above 
everything I brought something far beyond soup on a 
sausage -peg. So I hastened away, that I might get home 
in time, and bring the highest and best, that is above 
everything — namely, the truth. The mice are an enlightened 
people, and the King is above them all. He is capable of 
making me Queen, for the sake of truth.' 

' Your truth is a falsehood,' said the Mouse who had 
not yet spoken. ' I can prepare the soup, and I mean to 
prepare it.' 



' I did not travel,' the third Mouse said. ' I remained 
in my country — that 's the right thing to do. There 's no 
necessity for travelling ; one can get everything as good 
here. I stayed at home. I've not learned what I know 
from supernatural beings, or gobbled it up, or held converse 
with owls. I have what I know through my own reflections. 
Will you just put that kettle upon the fire and get water 
poured in up to the brim ! Now make up the fire, that the 
water may boil — it must boil over and over ! Now throw 
the peg in. Will the King now be pleased to dip his tail 
in the boiling water, and to stir it round ? The longer the 
King stirs it, the more powerful will the soup become. 
It costs nothing at all — no further materials are necessary, 
only stir it round ! ' 


* Cannot any one else do that ? ' asked the Mouse Kmg. 

' No,' replied the Mouse. ' The power is contained only 
in the tail of the Mouse King.' 

And the water boiled and bubbled, and the Mouse King 
stood close beside the kettle — there was almost danger in 
it — and he put forth his tail, as the mice do in the dairy, 
when they skim the cream from a pan of milk, and after- 
wards lick the tail ; but he only got his into the hot steam, 
and then he sprang hastily down from the hearth. 

' Of course — certainly you are my Queen,' he said. 
' We'll wait for the soup till our golden wedding, so that 
the poor of my subjects may have something to which 
they can look forward with pleasure for a long time.' 

And soon the wedding was held. But many of the mice 
said, as they were returning home, that it could not be 
really called soup on a sausage-peg, but rather soup on 
a mouse's tail. They said that some of the stories had 
been very cleverly told ; but the whole thing might have 
been different. '/ should have told it so — and so — and so ! ' 

Thus said the critics, who are always wise — after the fact. 

And this story went round the world ; and opinions 
varied concerning it, but the story remained as it was. 
And that 's the best in great things and in small, so also 
with regard to soup on a sausage-peg — ^not to expect any 
thanks for it. 


A Christmas Tale 

In the forest, high up on the steep shore, hard by the 
open sea coast, stood a very old Oak Tree. It was exactly 
three hundred and sixty-five years old, but that long time 
was not more for the Tree than just as many days would 
be to us men. We wake by day and sleep through the 
night, and then we have our dreams : it is different with 
the Tree, which keeps awake through three seasons of the 
year, and does not get its sleep till winter comes. Winter 
is its time for rest, its night after the long day which is 
called spring, summer, and autumn. 


On many a warm summer day the Ephemera, the fly that 
lives but for a day, had danced around his crown — had 
Hved, enjoyed, and felt happy ; and then the tiny creature 
had rested for a moment in quiet bliss on one of the great 
fresh Oak leaves ; and then the Tree always said, 

' Poor little thing ! Your whole life is but a single day ! 
How very short ! It 's quite melancholy.' 

' Melancholy ! Why do you say that ? ' the Ephemera 
would then always reply. ' It 's wonderfully bright, warm, 
and beautiful all around me, and that makes me rejoice.' 

' But only one day, and then it 's all done ! ' 

' Done ! ' repeated the Ephemera. ' What 's the meaning 
of done ? Are you done, too ? ' 

' No ; I shall perhaps live for thousands of your days, 
and my day is whole seasons long ! It 's something so 
long, that you can't at all manage to reckon it out.' 

' No ? then I don't understand you. You say you have 
thousands of my days ; but I have thousands of moments, 
in which I can be merry and happy. Does all the beauty 
of this world cease when you die 1 ' 

'No,' replied the Tree ; ' it will certainly last much 
longer — far longer than I can possibly think.' 

' Well, then, we have the same time, only that we reckon 

And the Ephemera danced and floated in the air, and 
rejoiced in her delicate wings of gauze and velvet, and 
rejoiced in the balmy breezes laden with the fragrance of 
the meadows and of wild roses and elder flowers, of the 
garden hedges, wild thyme, and mint, and daisies ; the 
scent of these was all so strong that the Ephemera w^as 
almost intoxicated. The day was long and beautiful, full 
of joy and of sweet feeling, and when the sun sank low the 
little fly felt very agreeably tired of all its happiness and 
enjoyment. The delicate wings would not carry it any 
more, and quietly and slowly it glided down upon the soft 
grass -blade, nodded its head as well as it could nod, and 
went quietly to sleep — and was dead. 

* Poor little Ephemera ! ' said the Oak. ' That was 
a terribly short life ! ' 

And on every summer day the same dance was repeated, 
the same question and answer, and the same sleep. The 


same thing was repeated through whole generations of 
Ephemerae, and all of them felt equally merry and equally 

The Oak stood there awake through the spring morning, 
the noon of summer, and the evening of autumn ; and its 
time of rest, its night, was coming on apace. Winter was 

Already the storms were singing their ' good night ! good 
night ! ' Here fell a leaf, and there fell a leaf. 

' We pull ! See if you can sleep ! We sing you to sleep, 
we shake you to sleep, but it does you good in your old 
twigs, does it not ? They seem to crack for very joy. 
Sleep sweetly ! -sleep sweetly ! It 's your three hundred 
and sixty-fifth night. Properly speaking, you're only a year 
old yet ! Sleep sweetly ! The clouds strew down snow, 
there will be quite a coverlet, warm and protecting, around 
your feet. Sweet sleep to you, and pleasant dreams ! ' 

And the old Oak Tree stood there, stripped of all its 
leaves, to sleep through the long winter, and to dream 
many a dream, always about something that had happened 
to it, just as in the dreams of men. 

The great Oak Tree had once been small — indeed, an 
acorn had been its cradle. According to human computa- 
tion, it was now in its fourth century. It was the greatest 
and best tree in the forest ; its crown towered far above 
all the other trees, and could be descried from afar across 
the sea, so that it served as a landmark to the sailors : 
the Tree had no idea how many eyes were in the habit 
of seeking it. High up in its green summit the wood- 
pigeon built her nest, and the cuckoo sat in its boughs 
and sang his song ; and in autumn, when the leaves looked 
like thin plates of copper, the birds of passage came and 
rested there, before they flew away across the sea ; but 
now it was winter, and the Tree stood there leafless, so 
that every one could see how gnarled and crooked the 
branches were that shot forth from its trunk. Crows and 
rooks came and took their seat by turns in the boughs, 
and spoke of the hard times which were beginning, and of 
the difficulty of getting a living in winter. 

It was just at the holy Christmas -time, when the Tree 
dreamed its most glorious dream. 


The Tree had a distinct feeling of the festive time, and 
fancied he heard the bells ringing from the churches all 
around ; and yet it seemed as if it were a fine summer's 
day, mild and warm. Fresh and green he spread out his 
mighty crown ; the sunbeams played among the twigs and 
the leaves ; the air was full of the fragrance of herbs and 
blossoms ; gay butterflies chased each other to and fro. 
The ephemeral insects danced as if all the world were 
created merely for them to dance and be merry in. All 
that the Tree had experienced for years and years, and 
that had happened around him, seemed to pass by him 
again, as in a festive pageant. He saw the knights of 
ancient days ride by with their noble dames on gallant 
steeds, with plumes waving in their bonnets and falcons 
on their wrists. The hunting horn sounded, and the dogs 
barked. He saw hostile warriors in coloured jerkins and 
with shining weapons, with spear and halberd, pitching 
their tents and striking them again. The watchfires flamed 
up anew, and men sang and slept under the branches of 
the Tree. He saw loving couples meeting near his trunk, 
happily, in the moonshine ; and they cut the initials of 
their names in the grey-green bark of his stem. Once — 
but long years had rolled by since then — citherns and 
iEolian harps had been hung up on his boughs by merry 
wanderers ; now they hung there again, and once again 
they sounded in tones of marvellous sweetness. The wood- 
pigeons cooed, as if they were telling what the Tree felt 
in all this, and the cuckoo called out to tell him how many 
summer days he had yet to live. 

Then it appeared to him as if new life were rippling 
down into the remotest fibre of his root, and mounting up 
into his highest branches, to the tops of the leaves. The 
Tree felt that he was stretching and spreading himself, 
and through his root he felt that there was life and warmth 
even in the ground itself. He felt his strength increase, 
he grew higher, his stem shot up unceasingly, and he grew 
more and more, his crown became fuller and spread out ; 
and in proportion as the Tree grew, he felt his happiness 
increase, and his joyous hope that he should reach even 
higher — quite up to the warm brilliant sun. 

Already had he grown high up above the clouds, which 


floated past beneath his crowTi Hke dark troops of passage - 
birds, or like great white swans. And every leaf of the 
Tree had the gift of sight, as if it had eyes wherewith to 
see : the stars became visible in broad daylight, great and 
sparkling ; each of them sparkled like a pair of eyes, mild 
and clear. They recalled to his memory w^ell-known gentle 
eyes, eyes of children, eyes of lovers, who had met beneath 
his boughs. 

It was a marvellous spectacle, and one full of happiness 
and joy ! And yet amid all this happiness the Tree felt 
a longing, a yearning desire that all other trees of the wood 
beneath him, and all the bushes, and herbs, and flowers, 
might be able to rise with him, that they too might see 
this splendour and experience this joy. The great majestic 
Oak was not quite happy in his happiness, while he had 
not them all, great and little, about him ; and this feeling 
of yearning trembled through his every twig, through his 
every leaf, warmly and fervently as through a human 

The crown of the Tree waved to and fro, as if he sought 
something in his silent longing, and he looked down. 
Then he felt the fragrance of woodruff, and soon after- 
wards the more powerful scent of honeysuckle and 
violets ; and he fancied he heard the cuckoo answering 

Yes, through the clouds the green summits of the forest 
came peering up, and under himself the Oak saw the other 
trees, as they grew and raised themselves aloft. Bushes 
and herbs shot up high, and some tore themselves up 
bodily by the roots to rise the quicker. The birch was 
the quickest of all. Like a white streak of lightning, its 
slender stem shot upwards in a zigzag line, and the branches 
spread around it like green gauze and like banners ; the 
whole woodland natives, even to the brown-plumed rushes, 
grew up with the rest, and the birds came too, and sang ; 
and on the grass -blade that fluttered aloft like a long silken 
ribbon into the air, sat the grasshopper cleaning his wings 
with his leg ; the May beetles hummed, and the bees 
murmured, and every bird sang in his appointed manner ; 
all was song and sound of gladness up into the high 


' But the little blue flower by the water-side, where is 
that ? ' said the Oak ; ' and the purple bell-flower and the 
daisy ? ' for, you see, the old Oak Tree wanted to have 
them all about him. 

' We are here ! we are here ! ' was shouted and sung in 

' But the beautiful woodruff of last summer — and in the 
last year there was certainly a place here covered wdth 
lilies of the valley ! and the wild apple tree that blossomed 
so splendidly ! and all the glory of the wood that came 
year by year — if that had only lived and remained till now, 
then it might have been here now ! ' 

' We are here ! we are here ! ' replied voices still higher 
in the air. 

It seemed as if they had flown on before. 

' Why, that is beautiful, indescribably beautiful ! ' ex- 
claimed the old Oak Tree, rejoicingly. ' I have them all 
around me, great and small ; not one has been forgotten ! 
How can so much happiness be imagined ? How can it 
be possible ? ' 

' In heaven it can be imagined, and it is possible ! ' the 
reply sounded through the air. 

And the old Tree, who grew on and on, felt how his 
roots were tearing themselves free from the ground. 

' That 's best of all ! ' said the Tree. ' Now no fetters 
hold me ! I can fly up now, to the very highest, in glory 
and in light ! And all my beloved ones are with me, great 
and small — all of them, all ! ' 

That was the dream of the old Oak Tree ; and while he 
dreamed thus a mighty storm came rushing over land and 
sea — at the holy Chris tmastide. The sea rolled great billows 
towards the shore, and there was a cracking and crashing 
in the tree — his root was torn out of the ground in the 
very moment while he was dreaming that his root freed 
itself from the earth. He fell. His three hundred and 
sixty-five years were now as the single day of the Ephemera. 

On the morning of the Christmas festival, when the sun 
rose, the storm had subsided. From all the churches 
sounded the festive bells, and from every hearth, even 
from the smallest hut, arose the smoke in blue clouds, like 
the smoke from the altars of the Druids of old at the feast 


of thank-offerings. The sea became gradually calm, and 
on board a great ship in the offing, that had fought success- 
fully with the tempest, all the flags were displayed, as 
a token of joy suitable to the festive day. 

' The Tree is down — the old Oak Tree, our landmark on 
the coast ! ' said the sailors. ' It fell in the storm of last 
night. ■ Who can replace it ? No one can.' 

This was the funeral oration, short but well meant, that 
was given to the Tree, which lay stretched on the snowy 
covering on the sea-shore ; and over its prostrate form 
sounded the notes of a song from the ship, a carol of the 
joys of Christmas, and of the redemption of the soul of 
man by the blood of Christ, and of eternal life. 

Sing, sing aloud, this blessed morn — 
It is fulfilled — and He is born, 
Oh, joy Anthout compare ! 
Hallelujah ! Hallelujah ! 

Thus sounded the old psalm tune, and every one on 
board the ship felt lifted up in his own way, through the 
song and the prayer, just as the old Tree had felt lifted 
up in its last, its most beauteous, dream in the Christmas 


The storks tell their little ones very many stories, all 
of the swamp and the marsh. These stories are generally 
adapted to the age and capacity of the hearers. The 
youngest are content if they are told ' Cribble -crabble, 
plurry-murry ' as a story, and find it charming ; but the 
older ones want something with a deeper meaning, or at 
any rate something relating to the family. Of the two 
oldest and longest stories that have been preserved among 
the storks we all know the one, namely, that of Moses, 
who was exposed by his mother on the banks of the Nile, 
and whom the King's daughter found, and who afterwards 
became a great man and the place of whose burial is 
unknown. That story is very well known. 

The second is not known yet, perhaps because it is quite 


an inland story. It has been handed do^n from stork- 
mamma to stork-mamma, for thousands of years, and each 
of them has told it better and better ; and now we'll tell 
it best of all. 

The first Stork pair who told the story had their summer 
residence on the wooden house of the Viking, which lay 
by the wild moor in Wendsyssel : that is to say, if we are 
to speak out of the abundance of our knowledge, hard by 
the great moor in the circle of Hjorring, high up by Skagen, 
the most northern point of Jutland. The wilderness there 
is still a great wild moss, about which we can read in the 
official description of the district. It is said that in old 
times there was here a sea, whose bottom was upheaved ; 
now the moss extends for miles on all sides, surrounded 
by damp meadows, and unsteady shaking swamp, and 
turfy moor, with blueberries and stunted trees. Mists are 
almost always hovering over this region, which seventy 
years ago was still inhabited by the wolves. It is certainly 
rightly called the ' wild moss ' ; and one can easily think 
how dreary and lonely it must have been, and how much 
marsh and lake there was here a thousand years ago. Yes, 
in detail, exactly the same things were seen then that maj^ 
yet be beheld. The reeds had the same height, and bore 
the same kind of long leaves and bluish-brown feathery 
plumes that they bear now ; the birch stood there, with 
its white bark and its fine loosely-hanging leaves, just as 
now ; and as regards the living creatures that dwelt here — 
why, the fly wore its gauzy dress of the same cut that it 
wears now, and the favourite colours of the stork were 
white picked out with black, and red stockings. The people 
certainly wore coats of a different cut from those they now 
wear ; but whoever stepped out on the shaking moss, be 
he huntsman or follower, master or servant, met with the 
same fate a thousand years ago that he would meet with 
to-day. He sank and went down to the Marsh King, as 
they called him, who ruled below in the great empire of 
the moss. They also called him Quagmire King ; but we 
like the name Marsh King better, and by that name the 
storks also called him. Very little is known of the Marsh 
King's rule ; but perhaps that is a good thing. 

In the neighbourhood of the moss, close by Limfjorden, 


lay the wooden house of the Viking, with its stone water- 
tight cellars, with its tower and its three projectiag stories. 
On the roof the Stork had built his nest, and Stork -mamma 
there hatched the eggs, and felt sure that her hatching 
would come to something. 

One evening Stork -papa stayed out very late, and when 
he came home he looked very bustling and important. 

'I've something very terrible to tell you,' he said to the 

' Let that be,' she replied. ' Remember that I'm hatching 
the eggs, and you might agitate me, and I might do them 
a mischief.' 

' You must know it,' he continued. * She has arrived 
here — the daughter of our host in Egypt — she has dared 
to undertake the journey here — and she 's gone ! ' 

' She who came from the race of the fairies ? Oh, tell 
me all about it ! You know I can't bear to be kept long 
in suspense when I'm hatching eggs.' 

' You see, mother, she believed in what the doctor said, 
and you told me true. She believed that the moss flowers 
would bring healing to her sick father, and she has flown 
here in swan's plumage, in company with the other Swan 
Princesses, who come to the North every year to renew 
their youth. She has come here, and she is gone ! ' 

' You are much too long-winded ! ' exclaimed the Stork- 
mamma, ' and the eggs might catch cold. I can't bear 
being kept in such suspense ! ' 

' I have kept watch,' said the Stork -papa ; ' and to-night, 
when I went into the reeds — there where the marsh ground 
wiU bear me — three swans came. Something in their flight 
seemed to say to me, " Look out ! That 's not altogether 
swan ; it 's only swan's feathers ! " Yes, mother, you have 
a feeling of intuition just as I have ; you can tell whether 
a thing is right or wrong.' 

' Yes, certainly,' she replied ; ' but tell me about the 
Princess. I'm sick of hearing of the swan's feathers.' 

' Well, you know that in the middle of the moss there 
is something like a lake,' contiaued Stork -papa. ' You 
can see one comer of it if you raise yourself a little. There, 
by the reeds and the green mud, lay a great elder stump, 
and on this the three swans sat, flapping their wings and 


looking about them. One of them threw off her plumage, 
and I immediately recognized her as our own Princess 
from Egypt ! There she sat, with no covering but her long 
black hair. I heard her tell the others to pay good heed 
to the swan's plumage, while she dived down into the water 
to pluck the flowers which she fancied she saw growing 
there. The others nodded, and picked up the empty 
feather dress and took care of it. "I wonder what they 
will do with it ? " thought I ; and perhaps she asked her- 
self the same question. If so, she got an answer, for the 
two rose up and flew away with her swan's plumage. " Do 
thou dive down ! " they cried ; " thou shalt never fly more 
in swan's form, thou shalt never see Egypt again ! Remain 
thou there in the moss ! " And so saying, they tore the 
swan's plumage into a hundred pieces, so that the feathers 
whirled about like a snow-storm ; and away they flew — 
the two faithless Princesses ! ' 

' Why, that is terrible ! ' said Stork -mamma. ' I can't 
bear to hear it. But now tell me what happened next.' 

' The Princess wept and lamented. Her tears fell fast 
on the elder stump, and the latter moved, for it was the 
Marsh King himself — he who lives in the moss ! I myself 
saw it — how the stump of the tree turned round, and ceased 
to be a tree stump ; long thin branches grew forth from 
it like arms. Then the poor child was terribly frightened, 
and sprang away on to the green slimy ground ; but 
that cannot even carry me, much less her. She sank 
immediately, and the elder stump dived down too ; and 
it was he who drew her down. Great black bubbles rose 
up, and there was no more trace of them. Now the Princess 
is buried in the wild moss, and never more will she bear 
away a flower to Egypt. Your heart would have burst 
mother, if you had seen it.' 

' You ought not to tell me anything of the kind at such 
a time as this,' said Stork -mamma ; ' the eggs might suffer 
by it. The Princess will find some way of escape ; some 
one will come to help her. If it had been you or I, or one 
of our people, it would certainly have been all over with us.' 

' But I shall go and look every day to see if anything 
happens,' said Stork -papa. 

Aiid he was as good as his word. 


A long time had passed, when at last he saw a green 
stalk shooting up out of the deep moss. When it reached 
the surface a leaf spread out and unfolded itself broader 
and broader ; close by it, a bud came out. And one 
morning, when the Stork flew over the stalk, the bud 
opened through the power of the strong sunbeams, and in 
the cup of the flower lay a beautiful child — a httle girl — 

looking just as if she had risen out of the bath. The Httle 
one so closely resembled the Princess from Egypt, that at 
the first moment the Stork thought it must be the Princess 
herself ; but, on second thoughts, it appeared more prob- 
able that it must be the daughter of the Princess and of 
the Marsh King ; and that also explained her being placed 
in the cup of the water-lily. 

' But she cannot possibly be left lying there,' thought 
the Stork ; ' and in my nest there are so many already. 


But stay, I have a thought. The wife of the Viking has 
no children, and how often has she not wished for a little 
one ! People always say, " The stork has brought a little 
one ; " and I will do so in earnest this time. I shall fly 
with the child to the Viking's wife. What rejoicing there 
will be there ! ' 

And the Stork lifted the little girl, flew to the wooden 
house, picked a hole with his beak in the bladder-covered 
window, laid the child on the bosom of the Viking's wife, 
and then hurried up to the Stork -mamma, and told her 
what he had seen and done ; and the little Storks listened 
to the story, for they w^ere big enough to do so now. 

' So you see,' he concluded, ' the Princess is not dead, 
for she must have sent the little one up here ; and now 
that is provided for too.' 

' Ah, I said it would be so from the very beginning ! ' 
said the Stork-mamma ; ' but now think a little of your 
own family. Our travelling time is drawing on ; sometimes 
I feel quite restless in my wings already. The cuckoo and 
the nightingale have started, and I heard the quails saying 
that they were going too, as soon as the wind was favour- 
able. Our young ones will behave well at the exercising, 
or I am much deceived in them.' 

The Viking's wife was extremely glad when she woke 
next morning and found the charming infant lying in her 
arms. She kissed and caressed it, but it cried violently, 
and struggled with its arms and legs, and did not seem 
rejoiced at all. At length it cried itself to sleep, and as 
it lay there it looked exceedingly beautiful. The Viking's 
wife was in high glee : she felt light in body and soul ; 
her heart leapt within her ; and it seemed to her as if her 
husband and his warriors, who were absent, must return quite 
as suddenly and unexpectedly as the little one had come. 

Therefore she and the whole household had enough tc 
do in preparing everything for the reception of her lord. 
The long coloured curtains of tapestry, which she and her 
maids had worked, and on which they had woven pictures 
of their idols, Odin, Thor, and Freia, were hung up ; the 
slaves polished the old shields that served as ornaments ; 
and cushions were placed on the benches, and dry wood 
laid on the fireplace in the midst of the hall, so that the 


fire could be lighted at a moment's notice. The Viking's 
wife herself assisted in the work, so that towards evening 
she was very tired, and slept well. 

When she awoke towards morning, she was violently 
alarmed, for the infant had vanished ! She sprang from 
her couch, lighted a pine torch, and searched all round 
about ; and, behold, in the part of the bed where she had 
stretched her feet, lay, not the child, but a great ugly frog ! 
She was horror-struck at the sight, and seized a heavy 
stick to kill the frog ; but the creature looked at her with 
such strange mournful eyes, that she was not able to strike 
the blow. Once more she looked round the room — the frog 
uttered a low, wailing croak, and she started, sprang from 
the couch, and ran to the window and opened it. At that 
moment the sun shone forth, and flung its beams through 
the window on the couch and on the great frog ; and 
suddenly it appeared as though the frog's great mouth 
contracted and became smaU and red, and its limbs moved 
and stretched and became beautifully symmetrical, and it 
was no longer an ugly frog which lay there, but her pretty 
child ! 

' What is this ? ' she said. ' Have I had a bad dream ? 
Is it not my own lovely cherub lying there ? ' 

And she kissed and hugged it ; but the child struggled 
and fought like a little wild cat. 

Not on this day nor on the morrow did the Viking 
return, although he was on his way home ; but the wind 
was against him, for it blew towards the south, favourably 
for the storks. A good wind for one is a contrary wind 
for another. 

When one or two more days and nights had gone, the 
Viking's wife clearly understood how the case was with her 
child, that a terrible power of sorcery was upon it. By 
day it was charming as an angel of light, though it had 
a wild, savage temper ; but at night it became an ugly 
frog, quiet and mournful, with sorrowful eyes. Here were 
two natures changing inwardly as well as outwardly with 
the sunlight. The reason of this was that by day the child 
had the form of its mother, but the disposition of its father ; 
while, on the contrary, at night the paternal descent became 
manifest in its bodily appearance, though the mind and 


heart of the mother then became dominant in the child. 
Who might be able to loosen this charm that wicked sorcery 
had worked ? 

The wife of the Viking lived in care and sorrow about 
it ; and yet her heart yearned towards the little creature, 
of whose condition she felt she should not dare tell her 
husband on his return, for he would probably, according 
to the custom which then prevailed, expose the child on 
the public highway, and let whoever listed take it away. 
The good Viking woman could not find it in her heart to 
allow this, and she therefore determined that the Viking 
should never see the child except by daylight. 

One morning the wings of storks were heard rushing 
over the roof ; more than a hundred pairs of those birds 
had rested from their exercise during the previous night, 
and now they soared aloft, to travel southwards. 

' All males here, and ready,' they cried ; ' and the wives 
and children too.' 

' How light we feel ! ' screamed the young Storks in 
chorus : ' it seems to be creeping all over us, doA\Ti into 
our very toes, as if we were filled with living frogs. Ah, 
how charming it is, travelling to foreign lands ! ' 

' Mind you keep close to us during your flight,' said 
papa and mamma. ' Don't use your beaks too much, for 
that tires the chest.' 

And the Storks flew away. 

At the same time the sound of the trumpets rolled across 
the heath, for the Viking had landed with his warriors ; 
they were returning home, richly laden with spoil, from 
the Gallic coast, where the people, as in the land of the 
Britons, sang in their terror : 

' Deliver us from the wild Northmen ! ' 

And life and tumultuous joy came with them into the 
Viking's castle on the moorland. The great mead -tub was 
brought into the hall, the pile of wood was set ablaze, 
horses were killed, and a great feast was to begin. The 
officiating priest sprinkled the slaves with the warm blood ; 
the fire crackled, the smoke rolled along beneath the roof, 
soot dropped from the beams, but they were accustomed 
to that. Guests were invited, and received handsome gifts : 


all feuds and all malice were forgotten. And the company 
drank deep, and threw the bones of the feast in each other's 
faces, and this was considered a sign of good humour. The 
bard, a kind of minstrel, who was also a warrior and 
had been on the expedition with the rest, sang them a song 
in which they heard all their warlike deeds praised, and 
everything remarkable was specially noticed. Every verse 
ended with the burden : 

Goods and gold, friends and foes will die ; every man must one day die ; 
But a famous name will never die ! 

And with that they beat upon their shields, and ham- 
mered the table with bones and knives. 

The Viking's wife sat upon the crossbench in the open 
hall. She wore a silken dress and golden armlets, and 
great amber beads : she was in her costliest garb. And 
the bard mentioned her in his song, and sang of the rich 
treasure she had brought her rich husband. The latter 
was delighted with the beautiful child, which he had seen 
in the daytime in all its loveliness ; and the savage ways 
of the little creature pleased him especially. He declared 
that the girl might grow up to be a stately heroine, strong 
and determined as a man. She would not wink her eyes 
when a practised hand cut off her eyebrows with a sword 
by way of a jest. 

The full mead-barrel was emptied, and a fresh one 
brought in, for these were people who liked to enjoy all 
things plentifully. The old proverb was indeed well known, 
which says, ' The cattle know when they should quit the 
pasture, but a foolish man knoweth not the measure of 
his own appetite.' Yes, they knew it well enough ; but 
one knows one thing, and one does another. They also 
knew that ' even the welcome guest becomes wearisome 
when he sitteth long in the house ' ; but for all that they 
sat stiU, for pork and mead are good things ; and there 
was high carousing, and at night the bondmen slept among 
the warm ashes, and dipped their fingers in the fat grease 
and licked them. Those were glorious times ! 

Once more in the year the Viking sallied forth, though 
the storms of autumn already began to roar : he went 
with his warriors to the shores of Britain, for he declared 


that was but an excursion across the water ; and his wife 
stayed at home with the Httle girl. And thus much is 
certain, that the foster-mother soon got to love the frog 
with its gentle eyes and its sorrowful sighs, almost better 
than the pretty child that bit and beat all around her. 

The rough damp mist of autumn, which devours the 
leaves of the forest, had already descended upon thicket 
and heath. ' Birds featherless,' as they called the snow, 
flew in thick masses, and the winter was coming on fast. 
The sparrows took possession of the storks' nests, and 
talked about the absent proprietors according to their 
fashion ; but these — the Stork -pair, with all the young 
ones — what had become of them ? 

The Storks were now in the land of Egypt, where the sun 
sent forth warm rays, as it does here on a fine midsummer 
day. Tamarinds and acacias bloomed in the country all 
around ; the crescent of Mohammed glittered from the 
cupolas of the temples, and on the slender towers sat 
many a stork-pair resting after the long journey. Great 
troops divided the nests, built close together on venerable 
pillars and in fallen temple arches of forgotten cities. The 
date-palm lifted up its screen as if it would be a sunshade ; 
the greyish-white pjrramids stood like masses of shadow 
in the clear air of the far desert, where the ostrich ran his 
swift career, and the lion gazed with his great grave eyes 
at the marble Sphinx which lay half buried in the sand. 
The waters of the Nile had fallen, and the whole river 
bed was crowded with frogs ; and that was, for the Stork 
family, the finest spectacle in the country. The young 
Storks thought it was optical illusion, they found every- 
thing so glorious. 

' Yes, it 's delightful here ; and it 's always like this in 
our warm country,' said the Stork-mamma. 

And the young ones felt quite frisky on the strength of it. 

' Is there anything more to be seen ? ' they asked. ' Are 
we to go much farther into the country ? ' 

' There 's nothing further to be seen,' answered Stork- 
mamma. ' Behind this delightful region there are only wild 
forests, whose branches are interlaced with one another, 
while prickly climbing plants close up the paths — only the 


elephant can force a way for himself with his great feet ; 
and the snakes are too big and the lizards too quick for 
us. If you go into the desert, you'll get your eyes full of 
sand when there 's a light breeze, but when it blows great 
guns you may get into the middle of a pillar of sand. It 
is best to stay here, where there are frogs and locusts. 
I shaU stay here, and you shall stay too.' 

And there they remained. The parents sat in the nest 
on the slender minaret, and rested, and yet were busily 
employed smoothing their feathers, and whetting their 
beaks against their red stockings. Now and then they 
stretched out their necks, and bowed gravely, and lifted their 
heads, with their high foreheads and fine smooth feathers, 
and looked very clever with their bro\^Ti eyes. The female 
young ones strutted about in the juicy reeds, looked slyly 
at the other young storks, made acquaintances, and swal- 
lowed a frog at every third step, or rolled a little snake 
to and fro in their bills, which they thought became them 
well, and, moreover, tasted nice. The male young ones 
began a quarrel, beat each other with their wings, struck 
with their beaks, and even pricked each other till the blood 
came. And in this way sometimes one couple was betrothed, 
and sometimes another, of the young ladies and gentlemen, 
and that was just what they lived for : then they took 
to a new nest, and began new quarrels, for in hot countries 
people are generally hot tempered and passionate. But it 
was pleasant for all that, and the old people especially 
were much rejoiced, for all that young people do seems 
to suit them well. There was sunshine every day, and every 
day plenty to eat, and nothing to think of but pleasure. 
But in the rich castle at the Egyptian host's, as they called 
him, there was no pleasure to be found. 

The rich mighty lord reclined on his divan, in the midst 
of the great hall of the many-coloured walls, looking as 
if he were sitting in a tulip ; but he was stiff and powerless 
in all his limbs, and lay stretched out like a mummy. His 
family and servants surrounded him, for he was not dead, 
though one could not exactly say that he was alive. The 
healing moss flower from the North, which was to have 
been found and brought home by her who loved him best, 
never appeared. His beauteous young daughter, who had 


flown in the swan's plumage over sea and land to the far 
North, was never to come back. ' She is dead ! ' the two 
returning Swan -maidens had said, and they had made up 
a complete story, which ran as follows : 

' We three together flew high in the air : a hunter saw 
us, and shot his arrow at us ; it struck our young com- 
panion and friend, and slowly, singing her farewell song, 
she sank down, a dying swan, into the woodland lake. By 
the shore of the lake, under a weeping birch tree, we 
buried her. But we had our revenge. We bound fire 
under the wings of the swallow who had her nest beneath 
the huntsman's thatch ; the house burst into flames, the 
huntsman was burned in the house, and the glare shone 
over the sea as far as the hanging birch beneath which 
she sleeps. Never will she return to the land of Egypt.' 

And then the two wept. And when Stork -papa heard 
the story, he clapped with his beak so that it could be 
heard a long way off. 

' Falsehood and lies ! ' he cried. ' I should like to run 
my beak deep into their chests.' 

' And perhaps break it off,' interposed the Stork -mamma : 
' and then you would look well. Think first of yourself, and 
then of your family, and all the rest does not concern you.' 

' But to-morrow I shall seat myself at the edge of the 
open cupola, when the wise and learned men assemble to 
consult on the sick man's state : perhaps they may come 
a little nearer the truth.' 

And the learned and wise men came together and spoke 
a great deal, out of which the Stork could make no sense — 
and it had no result, either for the sick man or for the 
daughter in the swampy waste. But for all that we may 
listen to what the people said, for we have to listen to 
a great deal of talk in the world. 

But then it will be an advantage to hear w^hat went 
before, and in this case we are well informed for we know 
just as much about it as Stork -papa. 

' Love gives life ! the highest love gives the highest life ! 
Only through love can his life be preserved.' 

That is what they all said, and the learned men said it 
was very cleverly and beautifully spoken. 


' That is a beautiful thought ! ' Stork -papa said imme- 

' I don't quite understand it,' Stork -mamma replied ; 
' and that 's not my fault, but the fault of the thought. 
But let it be as it will, I've something else to think of.' 

And now the learned men had spoken of the love to this 
one and that one, and of the difference between the love of 
one's neighbour and love between parents and children, of 
the love of plants for the light, when the sunbeam kisses 
the ground and the germ springs forth from it, — everything 
was so fully and elaborately explained that it was quite 
impossible for Stork-papa to take it in, much less to repeat 
it. He felt quite weighed down with thought, and half 
shut his eyes, and the whole of the following day he stood 
thoughtfully upon one leg : it w^as quite heavy for him 
to carry, all that learning. 

But one thing Stork-papa understood. All, high and 
low, had spoken out of their inmost hearts, and said that 
it was a great misfortune for thousands of people, yes, for 
the whole country, that this man was lying sick, and could 
not get well, and that it would spread joy and pleasure 
abroad if he should recover. But where grew the flower 
that could restore him to health ? They had all searched 
for it, consulted learned books, the twinkling stars, the 
weather and the wind ; they had made inquiries in every 
by-way of which they could think ; and at length the wise 
men and the learned men had said, as we have already 
told, that ' Love begets life — will restore a father's life ' ; 
and on this occasion they said more than they understood. 
They repeated it, and wrote down as a recipe, ' Love begets 
life.' But how was the thing to be prepared according to 
the recipe ? that was a difficulty they could not get over. 
At last they were decided upon the point that help must 
come by means of the Princess, who loved her father with 
her whole soul ; and at last a method had been devised 
whereby help could be procured. Yes, it was already more 
than a year ago since the Princess was to go forth by night, 
when the brief rays of the new moon were waning : she 
was to go out to the marble Sphinx, to shake the dust 
from her sandals, and to go onward through the long 
passage which leads into the midst of one of the great 


pyramids, where one of the mighty Kings of antiquity, 
surrounded by pomp and treasure, lay swathed in mummy 
cloths. There she was to incline her ear to the dead King, 
and then it would be revealed to her where she might find 
life and health for her father. She had fulfilled all this, 
and had seen in a vision that she was to bring home from 
the deep moss up in the Danish land — the very place had 
been accurately described to her — the lotos flower which 
grows in the depths of the waters, and then her father 
would regain health and strength. 

And therefore she had gone forth in the swan's plumage 
out of the land of Egypt up to the wild moss. And the 
Stork-papa and Stork -mamma knew all this ; and now we 
also know it more accurately than we knew it before. We 
know that the Marsh King had drawn her down to himself, 
and know that to those at home she is dead for ever. Only 
the wisest of them said, as the Stork -mamma said too, 
' She will manage to help herself ; ' and they resolved to 
wait and see what would happen, for they knew of nothing 
better that they could do. 

' I should like to take away the swans' feathers from 
the two faithless Princesses,' said the Stork -papa ; ' then 
at any rate, they will not be able to fly up again to the 
wild moss and do mischief. I'll hide the two swan-feather 
suits up there, till somebody has occasion for them.' 

' But where do you intend to hide them ? ' asked Stork- 

' Up in our nest in the moss,' answered he. 'I and our 
young ones will take turns in carrying them up yonder on 
our return, and if that should prove too difficult for us, 
there are places enough on the way where we can conceal 
them till our next Journey. Certainly, one suit of swan's 
feathers would be enough for the Princess, but two are 
always better. In those northern countries no one can 
have too many wraps.' 

' No one will thank you for it,' quoth ^Stork -mamma ; 
' but you're the master. Except at breeding -time, I have 
nothing to say.' 

In the Viking's castle by the wild moss, whither the 
Storks bent their flight when the spring approached, they 


had given the httle girl the name of Helga ; but this name 
was too soft for a temper hke that which went with her 
beauteous form. Month by month this temper showed 
itself more and more ; and in the course of years — during 
which the Storks made the same journey over and over 
again, in autumn to the Nile, in spring back to the moor- 
land lake — the child grew to be a big girl ; and before 
people were aware of it, she was a beautiful maiden in her 
sixteenth year. The shell was splendid, but the kernel was 
harsh and hard ; harder even than most in those dark, 
gloomy times. It was a pleasure to her to splash about 
with her white hands in the blood of the horse that had 
been slain in sacrifice. In her wild mood she bit off the 
neck of the black cock the priest was about to offer up ; 
and to her foster-father she said in perfect seriousness, 

' If thy enemy should pull down the roof of thy house, 
while thou wert sleeping, I would not wake thee even if 
I had the power. I should never hear it, for my ears stiU 
tmgle with the blow that thou gavest me years ago — 
thou 1 I have never forgotten it.' 

But the Vikmg took her words in jest ; for, like all 
others, he was bewitched with her beauty, and he knew not 
how temper and form changed in Helga. Without a saddle 
she sat upon a horse, as if she were part of it, while it 
rushed along in full career ; nor would she spring from 
the horse when it quarrelled and fought with other horses. 
Often she would throw herself, in her clothes, from the 
high shore into the sea, and swim to meet the Viking when 
his boat steered near home ; and she cut her longest lock 
of hair, and twisted it into a string for her bow. 

' Self-made is well-made,' she said. 

The Viking's wffe was strong of character and of will, 
according to the custom of the times ; but, compared to 
her daughter, she appeared as a feeble, timid woman ; 
moreover, she knew that an evil charm weighed heavily 
upon the unfortunate child. 

It seemed as if, out of mere malice, when her mother 
stood on the threshold or came out into the yard, Helga 
would often seat herself on the margin of the well, and 
wave her arms in the air ; then suddenly she would dive 
into the, deep well, where her frog nature enabled her to 

AND. F. T. p 3 


dive and rise, down and up, until she climbed forth again 
like a cat, and came back into the hall dripping with water, 
so that the green leaves strewn upon the ground turned 
about in the stream. 

But there was one thing that imposed a check upon 
Helga, and that was the evenmg twilight. When that 
came she was quiet and thoughtful, and would listen to 
reproof and advice ; and then a secret feeling seemed to 
draw her towards her mother. And when the sun sank, 
and the usual transformation of body and spirit took place 
in her, she would sit quiet and mournful, shrimk to the 
shape of the frog, her body indeed much larger than that 
of the animal, and for that reason much more hideous to 
behold, for she looked like a wretched dwarf with a frog's 
head and webbed fingers. Her eyes then had a very 
melancholy expression. She had no voice, and could only 
utter a hollow croaking that sounded like the stifled sob 
of a dreaming child. Then the Viking's wife took her on 
her lap, and forgot the ugly form as she looked into the 
mournful eyes, and said, 

' I could almost wish that thou wert always my poor 
dumb frog-child ; for thou art only the more terrible to 
look at when thy beauty is on the outside.' 

And she wrote Runes against sorcery and sickness, and 
threw them over the wretched child ; but she could not 
see that they worked any good. 

' One can scarcely believe that she was ever so small 
that she could lie in the cup of a water-hly,' said Stork- 
papa, ' now she 's grown up the image of her Egyptian 
mother. Her we shall never see again ! She did not know 
how to help herself, as you and the learned physicians said. 
Year after year I have flown to and fro, across and across 
the great moss, and she has never once given a sign that 
she was still alive. Yes, I may as well tell you, that every 
year, when I came here a few days before you, to repair 
the nest and attend to various matters, I sjDent a whole 
night in flying to and fro over the lake, as if I had been 
an owl or a bat, but every time in vain. The two suits 
of swan feathers which I and the young ones dragged up 
here out of the land of the Nile have consequently not 
been used : we had trouble enough with them to bring 


them hither in three journeys ; and now they have lain 
for many years at the bottom of the nest, and if it should 
happen that a fire broke out, and the wooden house were 
burned, they would be destroyed.' 

' And our good nest would be destroyed too,' said Stork- 
mamma ; ' but you think less of that than of your plumage 
stuff and of your Moor Princess. You'd best go down into 
the mud and stay there with her. You're a bad father to 
your own children, as I told you when I hatched our 
first brood. I only hope neither we nor our children will 
get an arrow in our wings through that wild girl. Helga 
doesn't know in the least what she does. I wish she would 
only remember that we have lived here longer than she, 
and that we have never forgotten our duty, and have 
given our toll every year, a feather, an egg, and a young 
one, as it was right we should do. Do you think I can now 
wander about in the courtyard and everywhere, as I used 
to in former days, and as I still do in Egypt, where 
I am almost the plajrfellow of the people, and that I can 
press into pot and kettle as I can yonder ? No, I sit 
up here and am angry at her, the stupid chit ! And 
I am angry at you too. You should have just left her 
lying in the water-lily, and she would have been dead 
long ago.' 

' You are much better than your words,' said Stork- 
papa. * I know you better than you know yourself.' 

And with that he gave a hop, and flapped his wings 
heavily twice, stretched out his legs behind him, and flew 
away, or rather sailed away, without moving his wings. 
He had already gone some distance when he gave a great 
flap I The sun shone upon the white feathers, and his 
head and neck were stretched forth proudly. There was 
power in it, and dash ! 

' After all, he 's handsomer than any of them,' said 
Stork-mamma to herself ; ' but I don't tell him so.' 

Early in that autumn the Viking came home, laden with 
booty, and bringing prisoners with him. Among these was 
a young Christian priest, one of those who contemned the 
gods of the North. 

Often in those later times there had been a talk, in hall 


and chamber, of the new faith that was spreading far and 
wide in the South, and which, by means of Saint Ansgar, 
had penetrated as far as Hedeby on the She. Even Helga 
had heard of this belief in the White Christ who, from love 
to men and for their redemption, had sacrificed His life ; 
but with her all this had, as the saying is, gone in at one 
ear and come out at the other. It seemed as if she only 
understood the meaning of the word ' love ' when she 
crouched in a corner of the chamber in the form of a miser- 
able frog ; but the Viking's wife had listened, and had felt 
strangely moved by the stories and tales which were told 
in the South about the one only true Word. 

On their return from their last voyage, the men told of 
the splendid temples built of hewn stones, raised for the 
worship of Him whose message is love. Some massive 
vessels of gold, made with cunning art, had been brought 
home among the booty, and each one had a peculiar 
fragrance ; for they were incense vessels, which had been 
swung by Christian priests before the altar. 

In the deep cellars of the Viking's house the young 
priest had been immured, his hands and feet bound with 
strips of bark. The Viking's wife declared that he was 
beautiful as Balder to behold, and his misfortune touched 
her heart ; but Helga declared that it would be right to 
tie ropes to his heels and fasten him to the tails of wild 
oxen. And she exclaimed, 

' Then I would let loose the dogs — hurrah ! over the 
moor and across the swamp ! That would be a spectacle ! 
And yet finer would it be to follow him in his career.' 

But the Viking would not suffer him to die such a death : 
he purposed to sacrifice the priest on the morrow, on the 
death-stone in the grove, as a despiser and foe of the 
high gods. 

For the first time a man was to be sacrificed here. 

Helga begged, as a boon, that she might sprinkle the 
image of the god and the assembled multitude with the 
blood of the victim. She sharpened her glittering knife, 
and when one of the great savage dogs, of whom a number 
were running about near the Viking's abode, ran by her, 
she thrust the knife into his side, ' merely to try its sharjD- 
ness,' as she said. And the Viking's wife looked mourn- 


fully at the wild, evil-disposed girl ; and when night came 
on and the maiden exchanged beauty of form for gentle- 
ness of soul, she spoke in eloquent words to Helga of the 
sorrow that was deep in her heart. 

The ugly frog, in its monstrous form, stood before her, 
and fixed its brown eyes upon her face, listening to her 
words, and seeming to comprehend them with human 

' Never, not even to my husband, have I allowed my 
lips to utter a word concerning the sufferings I have to 
undergo through thee,' said the Viking's wife ; ' my heart 
is full of more compassion for thee than I myself believed : 
great is the love of a mother ! But love never entered iitto 
thy heart — thy heart that is like the wet, cold moorland 
plants. From whence have you come into my house ? ' 

Then the miserable form trembled, and it was as though 
these words touched an invisible bond between body and 
soul, and great tears came into her eyes. 

' Thy hard time will come,' said the Viking's wife ; ' and 
it will be terrible to me too. It had been better if thou 
hadst been set out by the high road, and the night wind 
had lulled thee to sleep.'* 

And the Viking's wife wept bitter tears, and went away 
full of wrath and bitterness of spirit, disappearing behind the 
curtain of furs that hung over the beam and divided the hall. 

The wrinkled frog crouched in the corner alone. A deep 
silence reigned all around, but at intervals a half -stifled 
sigh escaped from its breast, from the breast of Helga. 
It seemed as though a painful new life were arising in 
her inmost heart. She came forward and listened ; and, 
stepping forward again, grasped with her clumsy hands 
the heavy pole that was laid across before the door. 
Silently she pushed back the pole, silently drew back the 
bolt, and took up the flickering lamp which stood in the 
8.nte -chamber of the hall. It seemed as if a strong will 
gave her strength. She drew back the iron bolt from the 
closed cellar door, and crept in to the captive. He was 
asleep ; she touched him with her cold, clammy hand, 
and when he awoke and saw the hideous form, he shuddered 
as though he had beheld a wicked apparition. She drew 
her knife, cut his bonds, and beckoned him to follow her. 


He uttered some holy names and made the sign of the 
cross ; and when the form remained unchanged, he said, 

' Who art thou ? Whence this animal shape that thou 
bearest, while yet thou art full of gentle mercy ? ' 

The frog-woman beckoned him to follow, and led him 
through passages shrouded with curtains, into the stables, 
and there pointed to a horse. He mounted on its back, 
and she also sprang up before him, holding fast by the 
horse's mane. The prisoner understood her meaning, and 
in a rapid trot they rode on a way which he would never 
have found, out on to the open heath. 

He thought not of her hideous form, but felt how the 
mercy and loving-kindness of the Almighty were working 
by means of this monster apparition ; he prayed pious 
prayers and sang songs of praise. Then she trembled. 
Was it the power of song and of prayer that worked in 
her, or was she shuddering at the cold morning twilight 
that was approaching ? What were her feelings ? She 
raised herself up, and wanted to stop the horse and to 
alight ; but the Christian priest held her back with all his 
strength, and sang a psalm, as if that would have the 
power to loosen the charm that turned her into the hideous 
semblance of a frog. And the horse gallopped on more 
wildly than ever ; the sky turned red, the first sunbeam 
pierced through the clouds, and as the flood of light came 
streaming down, the frog changed its nature. Helga was 
again the beautiful maiden with the wicked, demoniac 
spirit. He held a beautiful maiden in his arms, but was 
horrified at the sight : he swung himself from the horse, 
and compelled it to stand. This seemed to him a new and 
terrible sorcery ; but Helga likewise leaped from the saddle, 
and stood on the ground. The child's short garment 
reached only to her knee. She plucked the sharp knife 
from her girdle, and rushed in upon the astonished priest. 

' Let me get at thee ! ' she screamed ; ' let me get at 
thee, and plunge this knife in thy body ! Thou art pale 
as straw, thou beardless slave ! ' 

She pressed in upon him. They struggled together in 
a hard strife, but an invisible power seemed given to the 
Christian captive. He held her fast ; and the old oak tree 
beneath which they stood came to his assistance ; for its 


roots, which projected over the ground, held fast the 
maiden's feet that had become entangled in it. Quite close 
to them gushed a spring ; and he sprinkled Helga's faco 
and neck with the fresh water, and commanded the unclean 
spirit to come forth, and blessed her in the Christian 
fashion ; but the water of faith has no power when the 
well-spring of faith flows not from within. 

And yet the Christian showed his power even now, and 
opposed more than the mere might of a man against the 
evil that struggled within the girl. His holy action seemed 
to overpower her : she dropped her hands, and gazed with 
astonished eyes and pale cheeks upon him who appeared 
to her a mighty magician learned in secret arts ; he seemed 
to her to speak in a dark Runic tongue, and to be making 
magic signs in the air. She would not have winked had 
he swung a sharp knife or a glittering axe against her ; 
but she trembled when he signed her with the sign of the 
cross on her brow and her bosom, and she sat there like 
a tame bird with bowed head 

Then he spoke to her in gentle words of the kindly deed 
she had done for him in the past night, when she came 
to him in the form of the hideous frog, to loosen his bonds 
and to lead him out to life and light ; and he told her that 
she too was bound in closer bonds than those that had 
confined him, and that she should be released by his means. 
He would take her to Hedeby, to the holy Ansgar, and 
there in the Christian city the spell that Kound her would 
be loosed. But he would not let her sit before him 
on the horse, though of her own accord she offered to 
do so. 

' Thou must sit behind me, not before me,' he said. 
' Thy magic beauty hath a power that comes of evil, and 
I fear it ; and yet I feel that the victory is sure to him 
who hath faith.' 

And he knelt down and prayed fervently. It seemed 
as though the woodland scenes were consecrated as a holy 
church by his prayer. The birds sang as though they 
belonged to the new congregation, the wild flowers smelt 
sweet as incense ; and while he spoke the horse that had 
carried them both in headlong career stood still before the 
tall bramble bushes, and pluckod at them, so that the ripe 


juicy berries fell down upon Helga's hands, offering them- 
selves for her refreshment. 

Patiently she suffered the priest to lift her on the horse, 
and sat like a somnambulist, neither completely asleep nor 
wholly awake. The Christian bound two branches together 
with bark, in the form of a cross, which he held up liigh 
as they rode through the forest. The wood became thicker 
as they went on, and at last became a trackless wilderness. 

The wild sloe grew across the way, so that they had to 
ride round the bushes. The spring became not a stream 
but a standing marsh, round which likewise they were 
obliged to ride. There was strength and refreshment in the 
cool forest breeze ; and no small power lay in the gentle 
words which were spoken in faith and in Christian love, 
from a strong inward j^earning to lead the poor lost one 
into the way of light and life. 

They say the rain-drops can hollow the hard stone, and 
the waves of the sea can smooth and round the sharp edges 
of the rocks. Thus did the dew of mercy, that dropped 
upon Helga, smooth what was rough and penetrate what 
was hard in her. The effects did not yet appear, nor was 
she aware of them herself ; but doth the seed in the bosom 
of earth know, when the refreshing dew and the quickening 
sunbeams fall upon it, that it hath within itself the power 
of growth and blossoming ? As the song of the mother 
penetrates into the heart of the child, and it babbles the 
words after her, without understanding their import, until 
they afterwards engender thought, and come forward in 
due time clearer and more clearly, so here also did the 
Word take effect, that is powerful to create. 

They rode forth from the dense forest, across the heath, 
and then again through pathless woods ; and towards 
evening they encountered a band of robbers. 

' Where hast thou stolen that beauteous maiden ? ' cried 
the robbers ; and they seized the horse's bridle and dragged 
the two riders from its back. The priest had no weapon 
save the knife he had taken from Helga, and with this he 
tried to defend himself. One of the robbers lifted his axe, 
but the young priest sprang aside, otherwise he would 
have been struck, and now the edge of the axe went deep 
into the horse's neck, so that the blood spurted forth, and 


the creature sank down on the ground. Then Helga seemed 
suddenly to wake up from her long reverie, and threw^ her- 
self hastily upon the gasping animal. The priest stood 
before her to protect and defend her, but one of the robbers 
swung his iron hammer over the Christian's head, and 
brought it down with such a crash that blood and brains 
v/ere scattered around, and the priest sank to the earth, 

Then the robbers seized little Helga by her white arms ; 
but the sun went down, and its last ray disappeared at 
that moment, and she was changed into the form of a frog. 
A white-green mouth spread over half her face, her arms 
became thin and slimy, and broad hands with webbed 
fingers spread out upon them like fans. Then the robbers 
Avere seized with terror, and let her go. She stood, a hideous 
monster, among them ; and as it is the nature of the frog 
to do, she hopped up high, and disappeared in the thicket. 
Then the robbers saw that this must be a bad prank of 
the spirit Loke, or the evil power of magic, and in great 
affright they hurried away from the spot. 

The full moon was already rising. Presently it shone 
with splendid radiance over the earth, and poor Helga 
crept forth from the thicket in the wretched frog's shape. 
She stood still beside the corpse of the priest and the 
carcass of the slain horse. She looked at them with eyes 
that appeared to weep, and from the frog-mouth came 
forth a croaking like the voice of a child bursting into 
tears. She leaned first over the one, then over the other, 
brought water in her hand, which had become larger and 
more hollow by the webbed skin, and poured it over them ; 
but dead they were, and dead they would remain, she at 
last understood. Soon the wild beasts would come and 
tear their dead bodies ; but no, that must not be ! so she 
dug up the earth as well as she could, in the endeavour 
to prepare a grave for them. She had nothing to work 
with but a stake and her two hands encumbered with the 
webbed skin that grew between the fingers, and which was 
torn by the labour, so that the blood flowed. At last she 
saw that her endeavours would not succeed. Then she 
brought water and washed the dead man's face, and covered 
it with fresh green leaves ; she brought large boughs and laid 


them upon him, scattering dead leaves in the spaces between. 
Then she brought the heaviest stones she could carry and 
laid them over the dead body, stopping up the openings 
with moss. And now she thought the grave-hill would be 
strong and secure. The night had passed away in this 
difficult work — the sun broke through the clouds, and 
beautiful Helga stood there in all her loveliness, with 
bleeding hands, and for the first time with tears on her 
blushing maiden cheeks. 

Then in this transformation it seemed as if two natures 
were striving within her. Her whole frame trembled, and 
she looked around, as if she had just awoke from a troubled 
dream. Then she ran towards the slender tree, clung to 
it for support, and in another moment she had climbed to 
the summit of the tree, and held fast. There she sat like 
a startled squirrel, and remained the whole day long in 
the silent solitude of the wood, where everything is quiet, 
and, as they say, dead. Butterflies fluttered around in 
sport, and in the neighbourhood were several ant-hills, 
each with its hundreds of busy little occupants moving 
briskly to and fro. In the air danced innumerable gnats, 
swarm upon swarm, and hosts of buzzing flies, ladybirds, 
gold beetles, and other little winged creatures ; the worm 
crept forth from the damp ground, the moles came out ; 
but except these all was silent around — silent, and, as 
people say, dead. No one noticed Helga, but some flocks 
of jays, that flew screaming about the top of the tree on 
which she sat : the birds hopped close up to her on the 
twigs with pert curiosity ; but when the glance of her eye 
fell upon them, it was a signal for their flight. But they 
could not understand her — nor, indeed, could she under- 
stand herself. 

When the evening twilight came on, and the sun was 
sinking, the time of her transformation roused her to fresh 
activity. She glided down from the tree, and as the last 
sunbeam vanished she stood in the wrinkled form of the 
frog, with the torn webbed skin on her hands ; but her 
eyes now gleamed with a splendour of beauty that had 
scarcely been theirs when she wore her garb of loveliness, 
for they were a pair of pure, pious, maidenly eyes that 
shone out of the frog-face. They bore witness of depth 


of feeling, of the gentle human heart ; and the beauteous 
eyes overflowed in tears, weeping precious drops that 
lightened the heart. 

On the sepulchral mound she had raised there yet lay 
the cross of boughs, the last work of liim who slept beneath. 
Helga lifted up the cross, in pursuance of a sudden thought 
that came upon her. She planted it between the stones, 
over the priest and the dead horse. The sorrowful remem- 
brance of him called fresh tears into her eyes ; and in this 
tender frame of mind she marked the same sign in the 
earth around the grave ; and as she wrote the sign with 
both her hands, the webbed skin fell from them like a torn 
glove ; and when she washed her hands in the woodland 
spring, and gazed in wonder at her fine white hands, she 
again made the holy sign in the air between herself and the 
dead man ; then her lips trembled, the holy name that 
had been preached to her during the ride from the forest 
came to her mouth, and she pronounced it audibly. 

Then the frog-skin fell from her, and she was once more 
the beauteous maiden. But her head sank wearily, her 
tired limbs required rest, and she slept. 

Her sleep, however, was short. Towards midnight she 
awoke. Before her stood the dead horse, beaming and 
full of life, which gleamed forth from his eyes and from 
his wounded neck ; close beside the creature stood the 
murdered Christian priest, ' more beautiful than Balder,' 
the Viking woman would have said ; and yet he seemed 
to stand in a flame of fire. 

Such gravity, such an air of justice, such a piercing look 
shone out of his great mild eyes, that their glance seemed 
to penetrate every corner of her heart. Little Helga 
trembled at the look, and her remembrance awoke as 
though she stood before the tribunal of judgement. Every 
good deed that had been done for her, every loving word 
that had been spoken, seemed endowed with life : she 
understood that it had been love that kept her here during 
the days of trial, during which the creature formed of dust 
and spirit, soul and earth, combats and struggles ; she 
acknowledged that she had only followed the leading of 
temper, and had done nothing for herself ; everjrthing had 
been given her, everything had been guided by Providence. 


She bowed herself humbly, confessing her own deep imper- 
fection in the presence of the Powder that can read every 
thought of the heart — and then the priest spoke. 

' Thou daughter of the moss,' he said, ' out of the earth, 
out of the moor, thou earnest ; but from the earth thou 
shalt arise. The sunbeam in you, which comes not from 
the sun, but from God, will go back to its origin, conscious 
of the body it has inhabited. No soul shall be lost, but 
time is long ; it is the course of life through eternity. 
I come from the land of the dead. Thou, too, shalt pass 
through the deep valleys into the beaming mountain region, 
where dwell mercy and completeness. I cannot lead thee 
to Hedeby, to receive Christian baptism ; for, first, thou 
must burst the veil of waters over the deep moss, and draw 
forth the living source of thy being and of thy birth ; thou 
must exercise thy faculties in deeds before the consecration 
can be given thee.' 

And he lifted her upon the horse, and gave her a golden 
censer similar to the one she had seen in the Viking's castle. 
The open wound in the forehead of the slain Christian 
shone like a diadem. He took the cross from the grave 
and held it aloft. And now they rode through the air, 
over the rustling wood, over the mounds where the old 
heroes lay buried, each on his dead Avar-horse ; and the 
mighty figures rose up and gallopped forth, and stationed 
themselves on the summits of the mounds. The golden 
hoop on the forehead of each gleamed in the moonlight 
and their mantles floated in the night breeze. The dragon 
that guards buried treasures likewise lifted up his head and 
gazed after the riders. The gnomes and wood spirits peeped 
forth from beneath the hills and from between the furrows 
of the fields, and flitted to and fro with red, blue, and 
green torches, like the sparks in the ashes of a burned 

Over woodland and heath, over river and marsh they 
fled away, up to the wild moss ; and over this they hovered 
in wide circles. The Christian priest held the cross aloft : 
it gleamed Uke gold ; and from his lips dropped pious 
prayers. Beautiful Helga joined in the hymns he sang, 
like a child joining in its mother's song. She swung the 
censer, and a wondrous fragrance of incense streamed forth 


thence, so that the reeds and grass of the moss burst 
forth into blossom. Every germ came forth from the deep 
gromid. All that had life lifted itself up. A veil of water- 
lilies spread itself forth like a carpet of wrought flowers, 
and upon this carpet lay a sleeping woman, young and 
beautiful. Helga thought it was her own likeness she saw 
upon the mirror of the calm waters. But it was her mother 
whom she beheld, the Marsh King's wife, the Princess from 
the banks of the Nile. 

The dead priest commanded that the slumbering woman 
should be lifted upon the horse ; but the horse sank under 
the burden, as though its body had been a cloth fluttering 
in the wind. But the holy sign gave strength to the airy 
phantom, and then the three rode from the moss to the 
firm land. 

Then the cock crowed in the Viking's castle, and the 
phantom shapes dissolved and floated away in air ; but 
mother and daughter stood opposite each other. 

' Is it myself that I see in the deep waters ? ' asked the 

' Is it myself that I see reflected on the clear mirror ? ' 
exclaimed the daughter. 

And they approached one another and embraced. The 
heart of the mother beat quickest, and she understood it. 

' My child ! thou flower of my own heart ! my lotos 
flower of the deep waters ! ' 

And she embraced her child anew, and wept ; and the 
tears were as a new baptism of life and love to Helga. 

' In the swan's plumage came I hither,' said the mother, 
' and threw it off. I sank through the shaking mud, far 
down into the black slime, which closed like a wall around 
me. But soon I felt a fresher stream ; a power drew me 
down, deeper and ever deeper. I felt the weight of sleep 
upon my eyelids ; I slumbered, and dreams hovered round 
me. It seemed to me that I was again in the p3n:amid in 
Egypt? ancl yet the waving alder trunk that had frightened 
me up in the moss was ever before me. I looked at the 
clefts and wrinkles in the stem, and they shone forth in 
colours and took the form of hieroglyphics ; it was the 
case of the mummy at which I was gazing ; the case 
burst, and forth stepped the thousand-year old King, the 


mummied form, black as pitch, shining black as the wood 
snail or the fat mud of the swamp : whether it was the 
Marsh King or the mummy of the pjramids I knew not. 
He seized me in his arms, and I felt as if I must die. When 
I returned to consciousness a little bird w^as sitting on my 
bosom, beating with its wings, and twittering and singing. 
The bird flew away from me up towards the heavy, dark 
covering, but a long green band still fastened him to mp. 
I heard and understood his longing tones : " Freedom ! 
Sunlight ! To my father ! " Then I thought of my father 
and the sunny land of my birth, my life, and my love ; 
and I loosened the band and let the bird soar away home 
to the father. Since that hour I have dreamed no more. 
I have slept a sleep, a long and heavy sleep, till in this 
hour harmony and incense awoke me and set me free.' 

The green band from the heart of the mother to the 
bird's wings, where did it flutter now ? whither had it 
been wafted ? Only the Stork had seen it. The band was 
the green stalk, the bow at the end, the beauteous flower, 
the cradle of the child that had now bloomed into beauty 
and was once more resting on its mother's heart. 

And while the two were locked in each other's embrace, 
the old Stork flew around them in circles, and at length 
shot away towards his nest, whence he brought out the 
swan-feather suits he had preserved there for years, throw- 
ing one to each of them, and the feathers closed around 
them, so that they soared up from the earth in the sem- 
blance of two white swans. 

' And now we will speak with one another,' quoth Stork- 
papa, ' now we understand each other, though the beak of 
one bird is differently shaped from that of another. It 
happens more than fortunately that you came to-night. 
To-morrow we should have been gone — mother, myself, 
and the young ones, for we are flying southward. Yes, 
only look at me ! I am an old friend from the land of the 
Nile, and mother has a heart larger than her beak. She 
always declared the Princess would find a way to help 
herself ; and I and the young ones carried the swans' 
feathers up here. But how glad I am I and how fortunate 
that I'm here still ! At dawn of day we shall move hence, 
a great company of storks. We'll fly first, and do you 


follow us ; thus you cannot miss your way ; moreover, 
I and the youngsters will keep a sharp eye upon you.' 

' And the lotos flower which I was to bring with me,' 
said the Eg3rptian Princess, ' she is flying by my side in 
the swans' plumage ! I bring wdth me the flower of my 
heart ; and thus the riddle has been read. Homeward ! 
homeward ! ' 

But Helga declared she could not quit the Danish land 
before she had once more seen her foster-mother, the 
affectionate Viking woman. Every beautiful recollection, 
every kind word, every tear that her foster-mother had 
wept for her, rose up in her memory, and in that moment 
she almost felt as if she loved the Viking woman best of all. 

' Yes, we must go to the Viking's castle,' said Stork- 
papa ; ' mother and the youngsters are waiting for us there. 
How they will turn up their eyes and flap their wings ! 
Yes, you see, mother doesn't speak much — she 's short and 
dry, but she means all the better. I'll begin clapping at 
once, that they may know we're coming.' 

And Stork-papa clapped in first-rate style, and they aU 
flew away towards the Viking's castle. 

In the castle every one was sunk in deep sleep. The 
Viking's wife had not retired to rest until it was late. She 
was anxious about Helga, who had vanished with the 
Christian priest three days before : she must have assisted 
him in his flight, for it was the girl's horse that had been 
missed from the stables ; but how all this had been effected 
was a mystery to her. The Viking woman had heard of 
the miracles told of the White Christ, and by those who 
believed in His words and followed Him. Her passing 
thoughts formed themselves into a dream, and it seemed 
to her that she was still lying awake on her couch, and 
that deep darkness reigned without. The storm drew neai : 
she heard the sea roaring and rolling to the east and to 
the west, like the waves of the North Sea and the Cattegat. 
The immense snake which was believed to surround the 
span of the earth in the depths of the ocean was trembling 
in convulsions ; she dreamed that the night of the fall of 
the gods had come — Ragnarok, as the heathen called the 
last day, when everything was to pass away, even the 
great gods themselves. The war-trumpet sounded, and 


the gods rode over the rainbow, clad in steel, to fight the 
last battle. The winged Valkjrries rode before them, and 
the dead warriors closed the train. The whole firmament 
was ablaze with Northern Lights, and yet the darkness 
seemed to predominate. It was a terrible hour. 

And, close by the terrified Viking woman, Helga seemed 
to be crouching on the floor in the hideous frog-form, 
trembling and pressing close to her foster-mother, who 
took her on her lap and embraced her affectionately, 
hideous though she was. The air resounded with the blows 
of clubs and swords, and with the hissing of arrows, as if 
a hail-storm were passing across it. The hour was come 
when earth and sky were to burst, the stars to fall, and 
all things to be swallowed up in Surfs sea of fire ; but she 
knew that there would be a new heaven and a new earth, 
that the cornfields then would wave where now the ocean 
rolled over the desolate tracts of sand, and that the unutter- 
able God would reign ; and up to Him rose Balder the 
gentle, the affectionate, delivered from the kingdom of the 
dead : he came ; the Viking woman saw him and recognized 
his countenance ; it was that of the captive Christian 
priest. ' White Christ ! ' she cried aloud, and with these 
words she pressed a kiss upon the forehead of the hideous 
frog-child. Then the frog-skin fell off, and Helga stood 
revealed in all her beauty, lovely and gentle as she had 
never appeared, and with beaming eyes. She kissed her 
foster-mother's hands, blessed her for all the care and 
affection lavished during the days of bitterness and trial, 
for the thought she had awakened and cherished in her, 
for naming the name, which she repeated, ' White Christ ; ' 
and beauteous Helga arose in the form of a mighty swan, 
and spread her white wings with a rushing like the sound 
of a troop of birds of passage winging their way through 
the air. 

The Viking woman awoke, and she heard the same noise 
without still continuing. She knew it was the time for 
the storks to depart, and that it must be those birds whose 
wings she heard. She wished to see them once more, and 
to bid them farewell as they set forth on their journey. 
Therefore she rose from her couch and stepped out upon 
the threshold, and on the top of the gable she saw stork 


ranged behind stork, and around the castle, over the high 
trees, flew bands of storks wheeling in wide circles ; but 
opposite her, by the well where Helga had often sat and 
alarmed her with her wildness, sat two white swans gazing 
at her with intelligent eyes. And she remembered her 
dream, which still filled her soul as if it were reality. She 
thought of Helga in the shape of a swan, and of the Christian 
priest; and suddenty she felt her heart rejoice within her. 

The swans flapped their wings and arched their necks, 
as if they would send her a greeting, and the Viking's 
mfe spread out her arms towards them, as if she under- 
stood it, and smiled through her tears, and then stood 
sunk in deep thought. 

Then all the storks arose, flapping their wings and 
clapping with their beaks, to start on their voyage towards 
the South. 

' We will not wait for the swans,' said Stork-mamma : 
' if they want to go with us they had better come. We 
can't sit here till the plovers start. It is a fine thing, after 
all, to travel in this way, in families, not like the finches 
and partridges, where the male and female birds fly in 
separate bodies, which appears to me a very unbecoming 
thing. What are yonder swans flapping their wings for ? ' 

' Every one flies in his own fashion,' said Stork-papa : 
' the swans in an oblique line, the cranes in a triangle, and 
the plovers in a snake's line.' 

' Don't talk about snakes while we are flying up here,' 
said Stork-mamma. ' It only puts ideas into the children's 
heads which can't be gratified.' 

' Are those the high mountains of which I have heard 
tell ? ' asked Helga, in the swan's plumage. 

' They are storm clouds driving on beneath us,' replied 
her mother. 

' What are yonder white clouds that rise so high ? ' 
asked Helga again. 

' Those are the mountains covered with perpetual snow 
which you see yonder,' replied her mother. 

And they flew across the lofty Alps towards the blue 

' Africa's land ! Egypt's strand ! ' sang, rejoicingly, in 


her swan's plumage, the daughter of the Nile, as from the 
lofty air she saw her native land in the form of a yellowish 
wavy stripe of shore. 

And all the birds caught sight of it, and hastened their 

' I can scent the Nile mud and wet frogs,' said Stork- 
mamma ; ' I begin to feel quite hungry. Yes ; now you 
shall taste something nice ; and you wdll see the marabou 
bird, the crane, and the ibis. They all belong to our 
family, though they are not nearly so beautiful as we. 
They give themselves great airs, especially the ibis. He 
has been quite spoiled by the Egyptians, for they make 
a mummy of him and stuff him with spices. I would 
rather be stuffed with live frogs, and so would you, and 
so you shall. Better have something in one's inside while 
one is alive than to be made a fuss of after one is dead. 
That 's my opinion, and I am always right.' 

' Now the storks are come,' said the people in the rich 
house on the banks of the Nile, where the royal lord lay 
in the open hall on the downy cushions, covered with 
a leopard-skin, not alive and yet not dead, but waiting 
and hoping for the lotos flower from the deep moss in the 
far North. Friends and servants stood around his couch. 

And into the hall flew two beauteous swans. They had 
come with the storks. They threw off their dazzling white 
plumage, and two lovely female forms were revealed, as 
like each other as two dew-drops. They bent over the old, 
pale, sick man, they put back their long hair, and while 
Helga bent over her grandfather, his w^hite cheeks reddened, 
his eyes brightened, and life came back to his wasted 
limbs. The old man rose up cheerful and well, and daughter 
and granddaughter embraced him joyfully, as if they were 
giving him a morning greeting after a long heavy dream. 

And joy reigned through the whole house, and likewise 
in the Stork's nest, though there the chief cause was 
certainly the good food, especially the numberless frogs ; 
and while the learned men wrote down hastily, in flying 
characters, a sketch of the history of the two Princesses, 
and of the flower of health that had been a source of joy 
for the home and the land, the Stork -pair told the story 
to their family in their own fashion, but not till all had 


eaten their fill, otherwise they would have found something 
more interesting to do than to listen to stories. 

' Now, at last, you will become something,' whispered 
Stork-mamma, ' there 's no doubt about that.' 

' What should I become ? ' asked Stork -papa. ' What 
have I done ? Nothing at all ! ' 

' You have done more than the rest ! But for you and 
the youngsters the two Princesses would never have seen 
Egypt again, or have effected the old man's cure. You 
will turn out something ! They must certainly give you 
a doctor's degree, and our youngsters will inherit it, and 
so will their children after them, and so on. You already 
look like an Egyptian doctor — at least in my eyes.' 

The learned and wise men developed the ground -thought, 
as they called it, which went through the whole affair. 
' Love begets life ; ' this maxim they explained in various 
ways. ' The warm sunbeam was the Egyptian Princess ; 
she descended to the Marsh King, and from their meeting 
arose the flower ' 

' I cannot quite repeat the words as they were spoken,' 
said Stork-papa, who had listened from the roof, and was 
now telling it again to his own family. ' What they said 
was so involved, it was so wise and learned, that they 
immediately received rank and presents : even the head 
cook received an especial mark of distinction — probably 
for the soup.' 

' And what did you receive ? ' asked Stork-mamma. 
* Surely they ought not to forget the most important 
person of all, and you are certainly he ! The learned men 
have done nothing throughout the whole affair but used 
their tongues ; but you will doubtless receive what is due 
to you.' 

Late in the night, when the gentle peace of sleep rested 
upon the now happy house, there was one who still watched. 
It was not Stork-papa, though he stood upon one leg and 
slept on guard — it was Helga who watched. She bowed 
herself forward over the balcony, and looked into the clear 
air, gazed at the great gleaming stars, greater and purer 
in their lustre than she had ever seen them in the North, 
and yet the same orbs. She thought of the Viking woman 
in the wild moorland, of the gentle eyes of her foster- 


mother, and of the tears which the kind soul had wept 
over the poor frog-child that now lived in splendour under 
the gleaming stars, in the beauteous spring air on the 
banks of the Nile. She thought of the love that dwelt in 
the breast of the heathen woman, the love that had been 
shown to a wretched creature, hateful in human form, and 
hideous in its transformation. She looked at the gleaming 
stars, and thought of the glory that had shone upon the 
forehead of the dead man, when she flew with him through 
the forest and across the moorland ; sounds passed through 
her memory, words she had heard pronounced as the}^ rode 
onward, and when she was borne wondering and trembling 
through the air, words from the great Fountain of love 
that embraces all human kind. 

Yes, great things had been achieved and won ! Day 
and night beautiful Helga was absorbed in the contempla- 
tion of the great sum of her happiness, and stood in the 
contemplation of it like a child that turns hurriedly from 
the giver to gaze on the splendours of the gifts it has 
received. She seemed to lose herself in the increasing 
happiness, in contemplation of what might come, of what 
would come. Had she not been borne by miracle to greater 
and greater bliss ? And in this idea she one day lost her- 
self so completely, that she thought no more of the Giver. 
It was the exuberance of youthful courage, unfolding its 
wings for a bold flight ! Her eyes were gleaming with 
courage, when suddenly a loud noise in the courtyard below 
recalled her thoughts from their wandering flight. There 
she saw two great ostriches running round rapidly in 
a narrow circle. Never before had she seen such creatures 
— great clumsy things they were, with wings that looked 
as if they had been clipped, and the birds themselves 
looking as if they had suffered violence of some kind ; and 
now for the first time she heard the legend which the 
Egyptians tell of the ostrich. 

Once, they say, the ostriches were a beautiful, glorious 
race of birds, with strong large wings ; and one evening 
the larger birds of the forest said to the ostrich, ' Brother, 
shall we fly to-morrow, God willing, to the river to drink ? ' 
And the ostrich answered, ' I will.' At daybreak, accord- 
ingly, they winged their flight from thence, flying flrst up 


on high, towards the sun, that gleamed Uke the eye of 
God — higher and higher, the ostrich far in advance of all 
the other birds. Proudly the ostrich flew straight towards 
the light, boasting of his strength, and not thinking of 
the Giver, or saying, ' God willing ! ' Then suddenly the 
avenging angel drew aside the veil from the flaming ocean 
of sunlight, and in a moment the wings of the proud bird 
were scorched and shrivelled up, and he sank miserably 
to the ground. Since that time the ostrich has never 
again been able to raise himself in the air, but flees timidly 
along the ground, and runs round in a narrow circle. And 
this is a warning for us men, that in all our thoughts and 
schemes, in all our doings and devices, we should say, 
' God willing.' And Helga bowed her head thoughtfully, 
and looked at the circling ostrich, noticing its timid fear, 
and its stupid pleasure at sight of its own great shadow 
cast upon the white sunlit wall. And seriousness struck 
its roots deep into her mind and heart. A rich life in 
present and future happiness was given and won ; and 
what was yet to come ? the best of all, ' God willing.' 

In early spring, when the storks flew again towards the 
North, beautiful Helga took off her golden bracelet and 
scratched her name upon it ; and beckoning to the Stork - 
papa, she placed the golden hoop around his neck, and 
begged him to deliver it to the Viking woman, so that the 
latter might see that her adopted daughter was well, and 
had not forgotten her. • 

'That 's heavy to carry,' thought the Stork -papa, when 
he had the golden ring round his neck ; ' but gold and 
honour are not to be flung on the highway. The stork 
brings good fortune ; they'll be obliged to acknowledge 
that up there.' 

' You lay gold and I lay eggs,' said the Stork-mamma. 
' But with you it 's only once in a way, whereas I lay eggs 
every year ; but neither of us is appreciated — that 's very 

' Still one has one's inward consciousness, mother,' replied 

' But you can't hang that round your neck/ Stork- 
mamma retorted, ' and it won't give you a good wind or 
a good meal.' 


The little nightingale, singing in the tamarind tree, would 
soon be going north too. Helga the fair had often heard 
the sweet bird sing up yonder by the wild moss ; now she 
wanted to give it a message to carry, for she had learned 
the language of birds when she flew in the swan's plumage ; 
she had often conversed with stork and with swallow, and 
she knew the nightingale would understand her. So she 
begged the little bird to fly to the beech-wood on the 
peninsula of Jutland, where the grave-mound had been 
reared with stones and branches, and asked the nightingale 
to beg all other little birds to build their nests around the 
grave, and sing their song there again and again. And 
the nightingale flew away — and time flew away. 

In autumn the eagle stood upon the pyramid, and saw 
a stately train of richly laden camels approaching, and 
richly attired armed men on snorting Arab steeds, shining 
white as silver, with pink trembling nostrils, and great 
thick manes hanging do^vn almost over their slender legs. 
Wealthy guests, a royal Prince of Arabia, handsome as 
a Prince should be, came into the proud mansion on whose 
roof the storks' nests now stood empty ; those who had 
inhabited the nest were away in the far North, but they 
would soon return. And, indeed, they returned on that 
very day that was so rich in joy and gladness. Here 
a marriage was celebrated, and fair Helga was the bride, 
shining in jewels and silk. The bridegroom was the young 
Arab Prince, and bride ^d bridegroom sat together at the 
upper end of the table, between mother and grandfather. 

But her gaze was not fixed upon the bridegroom, with 
his manly sun-browned cheeks, round which a black beard 
curled ; she gazed not at his dark fiery eyes that were 
fixed upon her — but far away at a gleaming &tar that 
shone down from the sky. 

Then strong wings were heard beating the air. The storks 
were coming home, and however tired the old Stork -pair 
might be from the journey, and however much they needed 
repose, they did not fail to come down at once to the 
balustrades of the verandah, for they knew what feast was 
being celebrated. Already on the frontier of the land they 
had heard that Helga had caused their figures to be painted 
on the wall — for did they not belong to her history ? 


That 's very pretty and suggestive,' said Stork -papa. 

' But it 's very little,' observed Stork -mamma. ' They 
could not possibly have done less.' 

And when Helga saw them, she rose and came on to the 
verandah, to stroke the backs of the Storks. The old pair 
bowed their necks, and even the youngest among the young 
ones felt highly honoured by the reception. 

And Helga looked up to the gleaming star, which seemed 
to glow purer and purer ; and between the star and herself 
there floated a form, purer than the air, and visible through 
it : it floated quite close to her. It was the spirit of the 
dead Christian priest ; he too was coming to her wedding 
feast — coming from heaven. 

' The glory and brightness yonder outshmes everji^hing 
that is known on earth ! ' he said. 

And fair Helga begged so fervently, so beseechingly, as 
she had never yet prayed, that it might be permitted her 
to gaze in there for one smgle moment, that she might be 
allowed to cast but a single glance into the brightness that 
beamed in the kingdom of heaven. 

Then he bore her up amid splendour and glory. Not 
only around her, but within her, sounded voices and beamed 
a brightness that words cannot express. 

* Now we must go back ; thou wilt be missed,' he said. 

' Only one more look ! ' she begged. ' But one short 
minute more ! ' 

' We must go back to th6 earth. The guests will all 

' Only one more look — the last.' 

And Helga stood again in the verandah ; but the 
marriage lights without had vanished, and the lamps in 
the hall were extinguished, and the storks were gone — 
nowhere a guest to be seen — no bridegroom — all seemed 
to have been swept away in those few short minutes ! 

Then a great dread came upon her. Alone she went 
through the empty great hall into the next chamber. 
Strange warriors slept yonder. She opened a side door 
which led into her own chamber, and, as she thought to 
step in there, she suddenly found herself in the garden ; 
but yet it had not looked thus here before — the sky gleamed 
red — the morning dawai was come. 


Three minutes only in heaven and a whole night on 
earth had passed away ! 

Then she saw the Storks again. She called to them and 
spoke their language ; and Stork-papa turned his head 
towards her, listened to her words, and drew near. 

' You speak our language,' he said ; ' what do you wish ? 
Why do you appear here — you, a strange woman ? ' 

' It is I — it is Helga — dost thou not know me ? Three 
minutes ago we were speaking together yonder in the 
verandah ! ' 

' That 's a mistake,' said the Stork ; ' you must have 
dreamed that ! ' 

' No, no ! ' she persisted. And she reminded him of the 
Viking's castle, and of the wild moss, and of the journey 

Then Stork-papa winked with his eyes, and said, 

' That 's an old story, which I heard from the time of 
my great-great-grandmother. There certainly was here in 
Egypt a Princess of that kind from the Danish land, but 
she vanished on the evening of her wedding-day, many 
hundred years ago, and never came back ! You may read 
about it yourself yonder on the monument in the garden ; 
there you'll find swans and storks sculptured, and at the 
top you yourself are cut in white marble ! ' 

And thus it was. Helga saw it, and understood it, and 
sank on her knees. 

The sun burst forth in glory ; and as, in time of yore, 
the frog-shape had vanished in its beams, and the beautiful 
form had stood displayed, so now in the light a beauteous 
form, clearer, purer than air — a beam of brightness — flew 
up into heaven ! 

The body crumbled to dust, and a faded lotos flower 
lay on the spot where Helga had stood. 

' Well, that 's a new ending to the story,' said Stork- 
papa. ' I had certainly not expected it. But I like it 
very well.' 

' But what will the young ones say to it ? ' said Stork- 

' Yes, certamly, that 's the important pomt,' replied he. 



The story of the girl who trod on the loaf to avoid 
soiling her shoes, and of the misfortune that befell this girl, 
is well known. It has been written, and even printed. 

She was a poor child, but proud and presumptuous ; 
there was a bad foundation in her, as the saying is. When 
she was quite a little child, it was her delight to catch flies 
and tear off their wings, so as to make them into creeping 
things. She would take cockchafers and beetles, and 
spit them on pins. Then she pushed a green leaf or a little 
scrap of paper towards their feet, and the poor creatures 
seized it, and held it fast, and turned it over and over, 
struggling to get free from the pin. 

' The cockchafer is reading,' said little Inger. ' See how 
he turns the leaf ! ' 

With years she- grew worse rather than better ; but she 
was pretty, and that was her misfortune ; otherwise she 
would have been more sharply reproved than she was. 

' Your headstrong will requires something strong to 
break it ! ' her own mother often said. ' As a little child, 
you used to trample on my apron ; but I fear you will one 
day trample on my heart.' 

And that is what she really did. 

She was sent into the country, into service in the house 
of rich people, who treated her as their own child, and 
dressed her accordingly. She looked well, and her pre- 
sumption increased. 

When she had been there about a year, her mistress said 
to her, ' You ought now to visit your parents, Inger.' 

And she went too, but it was only to show herself, that 
they might see how grand she had become ; but when she 
came to the entrance of the village, and the young husband- 
men and maids stood there chatting, and her own mother 
appeared among them, sitting on a stone to rest, and with 
a faggot of sticks before her that she had picked up in the 
wood, then Inger turned back, for she felt ashamed that 
she, who was so finely dressed, should have for a mother 

AXD. F, T. n 


a ragged woman, who picked up wood in the forest. She 
did not in the least feel sorry for having turned back, she 
was only annoyed. 

And another half-year went by, and her mistress said 
again, ' You ought to go to your home, and visit your old 
parents, Inger. I'll make you a present of a great wheaten 
loaf that you may give to them : they will certainly be 
glad to see you again.' 

And Inger put on her best clothes, and her new shoes, 
and drew her skirts around her, and set out, stepping very 
carefully, that she might be clean and neat about the feet ; 
and there was no harm in that. But when she came to 
the place where the footway led across the marsh, and where 
there was mud and puddles, she threw the loaf into the 
mud, and trod upon it to pass over without wetting her 
feet. But as she stood there with one foot upon the loaf 
and the other uplifted to step farther, the loaf sank with 
her, deeper and deeper, till she disappeared altogether, 
and only a great puddle, from which the bubbles rose, 
remained where she had been. 

And that 's the story. 

But whither did Inger go ? She went down to the 
marsh woman, who is always brewing there. The marsh 
woman is cousin to the elf maidens, who are well enough 
known, of whom songs are sung, and of whom pictures 
are painted ; but concerning the marsh woman it is 
only known that when the meadows steam in summer- 
time it is because she is brewing. Into the marsh 
woman's brewery did Inger sink down ; and no one can 
endure that place long. A box of mud is a palace compared 
with the marsh woman's brewery. Every barrel there had 
an odour that almost takes away one's senses ; and the 
barrels stand close to each other ; and wherever there is 
a little opening among them, through which one might 
push one's way, then one cannot get through for the number 
of damp toads and fat snakes who are all in a tangle there. 
Among this company did Inger fall ; and all the horrible 
mass of living creeping things was so icy cold, that she 
shuddered in all her limbs, and became stark and stiff. 
She continued fastened to the loaf, and the loaf drew her 
down as an amber button draws a fragment of straw. 


The marsh woman was at home, and on that day the 
Devil and his grandmother had come to inspect the 
brewery ; and she is a venomous old woman, who is never 
idle : she never rides out to pay a visit without taking her 
work with her ; she also had it here. She sewed gadding 
leather to be worked into men's shoes, and that makes them 

wander about unable to settle anywhere. She wove webs 
of lies, and strung together hastily-spoken words that had 
fallen to the ground ; and all this was done for the injury 
and ruin of mankind. Yes, indeed, she knew how to sew, 
to weave, and to string, did this old grandmother ! 

Catching sight of Inger, she put up her double eye-glass, 
and took another look at the girl. 

' That 's a girl who has ability ! ' she observed, ' and I beg 
you will give me the little one as a memento of my visit 


here. She'll make a capital statue to stand in my grandson's 

And Inger was given up to her, and this is how Inger 
came into Hell. People don't always go there by the direct 
path, but they can get there by roundabout routes if they 
have a tendency in that direction. 

That was a never-ending antechamber. The visitor 
became giddy who looked forward, and doubly giddy when 
he looked back, and saw a whole crowd of people, almost 
utterly exhausted, waiting till the gate of mercy should 
be opened to them — they had to wait a long time ! Great 
fat waddling spiders spun webs of a thousand years over their 
feet, and these webs cut like wire, and bound them like 
bronze fetters ; and, moreover, there was an eternal un- 
rest working in every heart — a miserable unrest. The miser 
stood there, and had forgotten the key of his strong box, 
and he knew the key was sticking in the lock. It would 
take too long to describe the various sorts of torture that 
were found there together. Inger felt a terrible pain 
while she had to stand there as a statue, for she was tied 
fast to the loaf. 

' That 's the fruit of wishing to keep one's feet neat and 
tidy,' she said to herself. ' Just look how they're all staring 
at me ! ' 

Yes, certainly, the eyes of all were fixed upon her, and 
their evil thoughts gleamed forth from their eyes, and they 
spoke to one another, moving their lips, from which no sound 
whatever came forth : they were very horrible to behold. 

' It must be a great pleasure to look at me ! ' thought 
Inger, ' and indeed I have a pretty face and fine clothes.* 
And she turned her eyes ; her neck was too stiff to turn. 
But she had not considered how her clothes had been soiled 
in the marsh woman's brewhouse. Her garments were 
covered with mud ; a snake had fastened in her hair, and 
dangled down her back ; and out of each fold of her frock 
a great toad looked forth, croaking like an asthmatic 
poodle. That was very unpleasant. ' But all the rest of 
them down here also look horrible,' she observed to herself, 
and derived consolation from the thought. 

The worst of all was the terrible hunger that tormented 
her. But could she not stoop and break off a piece of the 


loaf on which she stood ? No, her back was too stiff, her 
hands and arms w^ere benumbed, and her whole body was 
like a pillar of stone ; she was only able to turn her eyes in 
her head, to turn them quite round, so that she could see 
backwards : it was an ugly sight. And then the flies came 
up, and crept to and fro over her eyes, and she blinked her 
eyes, but the flies would not go away, for they could not 
fly : their wings had been pulled out, so that they were 
converted into creeping insects : it was horrible torment 
added to the hunger, forshe felt empty, quite, entirely empty. 

' If this lasts much longer,' she said, ' I shall not be able 
to bear it.' 

But she had to bear it, and it lasted on and on. 

Then a hot tear fell down upon her head, rolled over her 
face and neck, down on to the loaf on which she stood ; 
and then another tear rolled down, followed by many 
more. Who might be weeping for Inger ? Had she not 
still a mother in the world ? The tears of sorrow which 
a mother weeps for her child always make their way to 
the child ; but they do not relieve it, they only increase 
its torment. And now to bear this unendurable hunger, 
and yet not to be able to touch the loaf on which she stood ! 
She felt as if she had been feeding on herself, and had become 
like a thin hollow reed that takes in every sound, for she 
heard everything that was said of her up in the world, and 
all that she heard was hard and evil. Her mother, indeed, 
wept much and sorrowed for her, but for all that she said, 
' A haughty spirit goes before a fall. That was thy ruin, 
Inger. Thou hast sorely grieved thy mother.' 

Her mother and all on earth knew of the sin she had 
committed ; knew that she had trodden upon the loaf, and 
had sunk and disappeared ; for the cowherd had seen it 
from the hill beside the marsh. 

' Greatly hast thou grieved thy mother, Inger,' said the 
mother ; ' yes, yes, I thought it would be thus.' 

' Oh that I had never been born ! ' thought Inger ; ' it 
would have been far better. But what use is my mother's 

weepmg now ( 

And she heard how her master and mistress, who had 
kept and cherished her like kind parents, now said she 
was a sinful child, and did not value the gifts of God, 


but trampled them under her feet, and that the gates of 
mercy would only open slowly to her. 

' They should have punished me,' thought Inger, ' and 
have driven out the whims I had in my head.' 

She heard how a complete song was made about her, 
a song of the proud girl who trod upon the loaf to keej) 
her shoes clean, and she heard how the song was sung 

' That I should have to bear so much evil for that ! ' 
thought Inger ; ' the others ought to be punished, too, 
for their sins. Yes, then there would be plenty of punishing 
to do. Ah, how I'm being tortured ! ' 

And her heart became harder than her outward form. 

' Here in this company one can't even become better,' 
she said, ' and I don't want to become better ! Look, 
how they're all staring at me ! ' And her heart was full of 
anger and malice against all men. ' Now they've some- 
thing to talk about at last up yonder. Ah, how I'm being 
tortured ! ' 

And then she heard how her story was told to the little 
children, and the little ones called her the godless Inger, 
and said she was so naughty and ugly that she must be 
well punished. 

Thus even the children's mouths spoke hard words of 

But one day, while grief and hunger gnawed her hollow 
frame, and she heard her name mentioned and her story 
told to an innocent child, a little girl, she became aware 
that the little one burst into tears at the tale of the haughty, 
vain Inger. 

' But will Inger never come up here again ? ' asked the 
little girl. 

And the reply was, ' She will never come up again.' 

' But if she were to beg for forgiveness, and say she 
would never do so again ? ' 

' But she will not beg for forgiveness,' was the reply. 

' I should be so glad if she would,' said the little girl ; 
and she was quite inconsolable. ' I'll give my doll and all 
my playthings if she may only come up. It 's too dreadful 
— poor Inger ! ' 

And these words penetrated to Inger's heart, and seemed 


to do her good. It was the first time any one had said, 
' Poor Inger,' without adding anything about her faults : 
a Httle innocent child was weeping and praying for her. 
It made her feel quite strangely, and she herself would 
gladly have wept, but she could not weep, and that was 
a torment in itself. 

While years were passing above her, for where she was 
there was no change, she heard herself spoken of more 
and more seldom. At last one day a sigh struck on her 
ear : ' Inger, Inger, how you have grieved me ! I said 
how it would be ! ' It was the last sigh of her dying 

Occasionally she heard her name spoken by her former 
employers, and they were pleasant words when the woman 
said, ' Shall I ever see thee again, Inger ? One knows not 
what may happen.' 

But Inger knew right well that her good mistress would 
never come to the place where she was. 

And again time went on — a long, bitter time. Then 
Inger heard her name pronounced once more, and saw 
two bright stars that seemed gleaming above her. They 
were two gentle eyes closing upon earth. So many years had 
gone by since the little girl had been inconsolable and wept 
about ' poor Inger ', that the child had become an old 
woman, who was now to be called home to heaven ; and 
in the last hour of existence, when the events of the whole 
life stand at once before us, the old wom^an remembered how 
as a child she had cried heartily at the story of Inger. 
That time and that impression came so clearly before the 
old woman in her last hour, that she called out quite 
loud : ' Have not I also, like Inger, often trod upon the 
gifts of heaven without thinking ? have not I also gone 
about with pride at my heart ? Yet Thou in Thy mercy 
hast not let me sink, but hast held me up. Leave me not 
in my last hour ! ' 

And the eyes of the old woman closed, and the eye of 
her soul was opened to look upon the hidden things. She, 
in whose last thoughts Inger had been present so vividly, 
saw how deeply the poor girl had sunk, and burst into tears 
at the sight ; in heaven she stood like a child, and wept 
for poor Inger. And her tears and prayers sounded like 


an echo in the dark empty space that surrounded the 
tormented captive soul, and the unhoped-for love from 
above conquered her, for an angel was weeping for her. 
Why was this vouchsafed to her ? The tormented soul 
seemed to gather in her thoughts every deed she had done 
on earth, and she, Inger, trembled and wept such tears 
as she had never yet wept. She was filled with sorrow 
about herself : it seemed as though the gate of mercy could 
never open to her ; and while in deep penitence she acknow- 
ledged this, a beam of light shot radiantly down into the 
depths to her, with a greater force than that of the sun- 
beam which melts the snow man the boys have built up ; 
and quicker than the snow-flake melts, and becomes 
a drop of water that falls on the warm lips of a child, the 
stony form of Inger was changed to mist, and a little bird 
soared with the speed of lightning upward into the world 
of men. But the bird was timid and shy towards all things 
around ; it was ashamed of itself, ashamed to encounter 
any living thing, and hurriedly sought to conceal itself 
in a dark hole in an old crumbling wall ; there it sat cower- 
ing, trembling through its whole frame, and unable to utter 
a sound, for it had no voice. Long it sat there before it 
could rightly see all the beauty around it ; for beauty 
there was. The air was fresh and mild, the moon shone so 
clear ; trees and bushes exhaled fragrance, and it was 
right pleasant where it sat, and its coat of feathers was 
clean and pure. How all creation seemed to speak of 
beneficence and love ! The bird wanted to sing of the 
thoughts that stirred in its breast, but it could not ; gladly 
would it have sung as the cuckoo and the nightingale sang 
in spring-time. But Heaven, that hears the mute song of 
praise of the worm, could hear the notes of praise which 
now trembled in the breast of the bird, as David's psalms 
were heard before they had fashioned themselves into 
Avords and song. 

For weeks these toneless songs stirred within the bird ; 
at last, the holy Christmas -time approached. The peasant 
who dwelt near set up a pole by the old wall, with some 
ears of corn bound to the top, that the birds of heaven 
might have a good meal, and rejoice in the happy, blessed 


And on Christmas morning the sun arose and shone 
upon the ears of corn, which were surrounded by a number 
of twittering birds. Then out of the hole in the wall streamed 
forth the voice of another bird, and the bird soared forth 
from its hiding-place ; and in heaven it was well known 
what bird this was. 

It was a hard winter. The ponds were covered with 
ice, and the beasts of the field and the birds of the air were 
stinted for food. Our little bird flew away over the high 
road, and in the ruts of the sledges it found here and there 
a grain of corn, and at the halting-places some crumbs. 
Of these it ate only a few, but it called all the other hungry 
sparrows around it, that they, too, might have some food. 
It flew into the towns, and looked round about ; and where - 
ever a kind hand had strewn bread on the window-sill 
for the birds, it only ate a single crumb itself, and gave all 
the rest to the other birds. 

In the course of the winter, the bird had collected so 
many bread crumbs, and given them to the other birds, 
that they equalled, the weight of the loaf on which Inger 
had trod to keep her shoes clean ; and when the last bread 
crumb had been found and given, the grey wings of the 
bird became white, and spread far out. 

' Yonder is a sea-swallow, flying away across the water,' 
said the children when they saw the white bird. Now it 
dived into the sea, and now it rose again into the clear 
sunlight. It gleamed white ; but no one could tell whither 
it went, though some asserted that it flew straight into 
the sun. 




Little Rudy 

Let us visit Switzerland, and wander through the 
glorious land of mountains, where the forests cling to the 
steep walls of rock ; let us mount up to the dazzling snow- 
fields, and then descend into the green valleys through 
which rivers and brooks are rushing, hurrying on as if 
they could not reach the sea and disappear there quickly 
enough. The sun looks hotly down upon the deep valley, 
and it glares likewise upon the heavy masses of snow, so 
that they harden in the course of centuries into gleaming 
blocks of ice, or form themselves into falling avalanches, 
or become piled up into glaciers. Two such glaciers lie in 
the broad rocky gorges under the ' Schreckhorn ' and the 
* Wetterhorn ', by the little mountain town of Grindelwald : 
they are wonderful to behold, and therefore in the summer- 
time many strangers come from all parts of the world to 
see them. The strangers come across the lofty snow- 
covered mountains, they come through the deep valleys ; 
and in this latter case they must climb for several hours, 
and, as they climb, the valley seems to be descending 
behind them, deeper and deeper, and they look down 
upon it as out of a balloon. Above them the clouds often 
hang like thick heavy veils of smoke over the mountain- 
tops, while a sunbeam still penetrates into the valley, 
through which the many brown wooden houses lie scattered, 
making one particular spot stand forth in shining trans- 
parent green. Down there the water hums and gushes, 
while above, it purls and ripples and looks like silver 
bands fluttering down the mountain. 

On both sides of the road that leads uphill, stand 
wooden houses. Each has its potato patch ; and this is 
a necessity, for there are many little mouths in those 
cottages — plenty of children are there, w^ho can eat up 
their share right heartily. They peep forth everywhere, 
and gather round the traveller, whether he be on foot or 
in a carriage. All the children here carry on a trade : the 


little people offer carved houses for sale, models of those 
that are built here in the mountains. In rain or in sun- 
shine, there are the children offering their wares. 

About twenty years ago, a little boy might often be 
seen standing there, anxious to carry on his trade, but 
always standing a short distance away from the rest. He 
would stand there with a very grave face, holding his little 
box with the carved toys so firmly in both hands that it 
seemed as if he would not let it go on any account. This 
appearance of earnestness, together with the fact of his 
being such a little fellow, often attracted the notice of 
strangers ; so that he was very frequently beckoned 
forward, and relieved of a great part of his stock, without 
himself knowing why this preference was shown him. 
A couple of miles away, in the mountains, lived his grand- 
father, who carved the pretty little houses ; and in the old 
man's room stood a wooden cupboard filled with things 
of that kind — carved toys in abundance, nutcrackers, 
knives and forks, boxes adorned with carved leaves and 
with jumping chamois, all kinds of things that delight 
children's eyes ; but the boy, Rudy was his name, looked 
with greater longing at an old rifle that hung from the 
beam under the ceiling, for his grandfather had promised 
him that it should be his one day, when he should have 
grown tall and strong enough to manage it properly. 

Young as the boy was, he had to keep the goats ; and 
if ability to climb with his flock makes a good goat-herd, 
then Rudy was certainly an efficient one, for he even 
climbed a little higher than the goats could mount, and 
loved to take the birds' nests from the high trees. A bold 
and courageous child he was, but he was never seen to 
smile, save when he stood by the foaming waterfall or 
heard an avalanche crashing down the mountain-side. He 
never played with the other children, and only came in 
contact with them when his grandfather sent him down 
the mountain to deal in carved toys ; and this was a busi- 
ness Rudy did not exactly like. He preferred clambering 
about alone among the mountains, or sitting beside liis 
grandfather and hearing the old man tell stories of the old 
times, or of the people in the neighbouring town of Meir- 
ingen, his birthplace. The old man said that the people 


who dwelt in that place had not been there from the 
beginning : they had come into the land from the far 
north, where their ancestors dwelt, who were called Swedes. 
And Rudy was very proud of knowing this. But he had 
others who taught him something, and these others were 
companions of his belonging to the animal creation. There 
was a great dog, whose name was Ajola, and who had 
belonged to Rudy's father ; and a Tom Cat was there 
too ; this Tom Cat had a special significance for Rudy, for 
it was Pussy who had taught him to climb. 

' Come with me out on the roof,' the Cat had said, quite 
distinctly and plainly, to Rudy ; for, you see, children 
who cannot talk yet, can understand the language of fowls 
and ducks right well, and cats and dogs speak to them 
quite as plainly as Father and Mother can do ; but that 
is only when the children are very little, and then, even 
Grandfather's stick will become a perfect horse to them, 
and can neigh, and, in their eyes, is furnished with head 
and legs and tail. With some children this period ends 
later than with others, and of such we are accustomed to 
say that they are very backward, and that they have 
remained children a long time. People are in the habit of 
saying many strange things. 

' Come out with me on to the roof,' was perhaps the first 
thing the Cat had said and that Rudy had understood. 
' What people say about falling down is all fancy : one 
does not fall down if one is not afraid. Just you come, 
and put one of your paws thus and the other thus. Feel 
your way with your fore -paws. You must have eyes in 
your head and nimble limbs ; and if an empty space comes, 
jump over, and then hold tight as I do.' 

And Rudy did so too ; consequently he was often found 
seated on the top of the roof by the Cat ; and afterwards 
he sat with him in the tree-tops, and at last was even seen 
seated on the edge of the cliff, whither Puss did not go. 

' Higher up ! ' said Tree and Bush. ' Don't you see 
how we climb ? How high we reach, and how tight we 
cling, even to the narrowest, loftiest ridge of rock ! ' 

And Rudy climbed to the very summit of the mountain, 
frequently reaching the top before the sun touched it, and 
there he drank his morning draught of fresh mountain air. 


the draught that the bountiful Creator above can prepare, 
and the recipe for making which, according to the reading 
of men, consists in minghng the fragrant aroma of the 
mountain herbs with the scent of the wild thyme and mint 
of the valley. All that is heavy is absorbed by the brood- 
ing clouds, and then the wind drives them along, and 
rubs them against the tree-tops, and the spirit of fragrance 
is infused into the air to make it lighter and fresher, ever 
fresher. And this was Rudy's morning draught. 

The sunbeams, the blessing-laden daughters of the sun, 
kissed his cheeks, and Giddiness, who stood lurking by, 
never ventured to approach liim ; but the swallows, who 
had no less than seven nests on his grandfather's roof, flew 
round about him and his goats, and sang, ' We and ye ! we 
and ye ! ' They brought him a greeting from home, even 
from the two fowls, the only birds in the house, but with 
whom Rudy never became at all intimate. 

Small as he was, he had been a traveller, and for such 
a little fellow he had made no mean journey. He had been 
born over in the Canton of Wallis, and had been carried 
across the high mountains to his present dwelling. Not 
long ago he had made a pilgrimage on foot to the ' Staub- 
bach ' or ' Dust Fountain ', which flutters through the air 
like a silver tissue before the snow-covered dazzling white 
mountain called the ' Jungfrau ' or ' Maiden '. He had 
also been in the Grindelwald, at the great glacier ; but 
that was a sad story. His mother had met her death 
there ; and there, said Grandfather, little Rudy had lost 
his childlike cheerfulness. When the boy was not a year 
old his mother had written concerning him that he laughed 
more than he cried, but from the time when he sat in the 
ice cleft, another spirit came upon him. His grandfather 
seldom talked of it, but the people through the whole 
mountain region knew the story. 

Rudy's father had been a postilion. The great dog 
that lay in grandfather's room had always followed him 
in his journeys over the Simplon down to the Lake of 
Geneva. In the valley of the Rhone, in the Canton of 
Wallis, lived some relatives of Rudy on the father's side. 
His uncle was a first-rate chamois hunter and a well-known 
guide. Rudy was only a year old when he lost his father, 


and the mother now longed to return with her child to her 
relatives in the Oberland of Berne. Her father lived a few 
miles from Grindelwald ; he was a wood-carver, and 
earned enough to live on. Thus, in the month of June, 
carrying her child, and accompanied by two chamois 
hunters, she set out on her journey home, across the 
Gemmi towards Grindelwald. They had already gone the 
greater part of the way, had crossed the high ridge as far 
as the snow-field, and already caught sight of the valley of 
home, with all the well-known wooden houses, and had 
only one great glacier to cross. The snow had fallen 
freshly, and concealed a cleft which did not indeed reach 
to the deep ground where the water gushed, but was still 
more than six feet deep. The young mother, with her 
child in her arms, stumbled, slipped over the edge, and 
vanished. No cry was heard, no sigh, but they could hear 
the crying of the little child. More than an hour elapsed 
before ropes and poles could be brought up from the 
nearest house for the purpose of giving help, and after much 
exertion what appeared to be two corpses were brought 
forth from the icy cleft. Every means was tried ; and 
the child, but not the mother, was recalled to life ; and 
thus the old grandfather had a daughter's son brought 
into his house, an orphan, the boy who had laughed more 
than he cried ; but it seemed that a great change had 
taken place in him, and this change must have been 
wrought in the glacier cleft, in the cold wondrous ice world, 
in which, according to the Swiss peasants' belief, the souls 
of the wicked are shut up until the last day. 

The glacier lies stretched out, a foaming body of water 
stiffened into ice, and as it were pressed together into 
green blocks, one huge lump piled upon another ; from 
beneath it the rushing stream of melted ice and snow 
thunders down into the valley, and deep caverns and great 
clefts extend below. It is a wondrous glass palace, and 
within dwells the Ice Maiden, the Glacier Queen. She, the 
death-dealing, the crushing one, is partly a child of air, 
partly the mighty ruler of the river ; thus she is also able 
to raise herself to the summit of the snow mountain, where 
the bold climbers are obliged to hew steps in the ice before 
they can mount ; she sails on the slender fir twig down 


the rushing stream, and springs from one block to another, 
with her long snow-white hair and her blue-green garment 
fluttering around her and glittering like the water in the 
deep Swiss lakes. 

' To crush and to hold, mine is the power ! ' she says. 
' They have stolen a beautiful boy from me, a boy whom 
I have kissed, but not kissed to death. He is again 
among men : he keeps the goats on the mountains, and 
chmbs upward, ever higher, far away from the others, but 
not from me. He is mine, and I will have him ! ' 

And she bade Giddiness do her errand, for it was too 
hot for the Ice Maiden, in summer, in the green woods 
where the wild mint grows ; and Giddiness raised herself 
and came down ; and her sisters went with her, for she 
has many sisters, a whole troop of them ; and the Ice 
Maiden chose the strongest of the many who hover without 
and within. These spirits sit on the staircase railing and 
upon the railing at the summit of the tower ; they run 
like squirrels along the rocky ridge, they spring over 
railing and path, and tread the air as a swimmer treads 
the water, luring their victims forth, and hurhng them 
down into the abyss. Giddiness and the Ice Maiden both 
grasp at a man as a polypus grasps at everything that 
comes near it. And now Giddiness was to seize upon Rudy. 

' Yes, but to seize him,' said Giddiness, ' is more than 
I can do. The cat, that wretched creature, has taught 
him her tricks. That child has a particular power which 
thrusts me away ; I am not able to seize him, this boy, 
when he hangs by a bough over the abyss. How gladly 
would I tickle the soles of his feet, or thrust him head over 
heels into the air ! But I am not able to do it.' 

' We shall manage to do it,' said the Ice Maiden. ' Thou 
or I— I shall do it— I ! ' 

'No, no ! ' sounded a voice around her, like the echo 
of the church bells among the mountains ; but it was 
a song ; it was the melting chorus of other spirits of 
nature — of good affectionate spirits — the Daughters of the 
Sunshine. These hover every evening in a wreath about 
the summits of the mountains ; there they spread forth 
their roseate wings, which become more and more fiery as 
the sun sinks, and gleam above the high mountains. The 


people call this the ' Alpine glow '. And then, when the 
sun has set, they retire into the mountain summits, into 
the white snow, and slumber there until the sun rises 
again, when they appear once more. They are especially 
fond of flowers, butterflies, and human beings ; and 
among these latter they had chosen Rudy as an especial 

' You shall not catch him — you shall not have him,' 
they said. 

' I have caught them larger and stronger than he,' said 
the Ice Maiden. 

Then the Daughters of the Sun sang a song of the 
wanderer whose mantle the storm carried away. 

' The wind took the covering, but not the man. Ye can 
seize him, but not hold him, ye children of strength. He 
is stronger, he is more spiritual than even we are. He will 
mount higher than the sun, our parent. He possesses the 
magic word that binds wind and water, so that they must 
serve him and obey him. You will but loosen the heavy 
oppressive weight that holds him down, and he will rise 
all the higher.' 

Gloriously swelled the chorus that sounded like the 
ringing of the church bells. 

And every morning the sunbeams pierced through the 
one little window into the grandfather's house, and shone 
upon the quiet child. The Daughters of the Sunbeams 
kissed the boy ; they wanted to thaw and remove the icy 
kisses which the royal maiden of the glaciers had given 
him when he lay in the lap of his dead mother in the 
deep ice cleft, from whence he had been saved as if by 
a miracle. 


The Journey to the New Home 

Rudy was now eight years old. His uncle, who dwelt 
beyond the mountains in the Rhone valley, wished that 
the boy should come to him to learn something and get on 
in the world ; the grandfather saw the justice of this, and 
let the lad go. 

Accordingly Rudy said good-bye. There were others 


besides his grandfather to whom he had to say farewell ; 
and foremost came Ajola, the old dog. 

' Your father was the postilion and I was the post dog,' 
said Ajola ; ' we went to and fro together ; and I know 
some dogs from beyond the mountains, and some people 
too. I was never much of a talker ; but now that we 
most likely shall not be able to talk much longer together, 
I will tell you a little more than usual. I will tell you 
a story that I have kept to myself and ruminated on for a 
long while. I don't understand it, and you won't under- 
stand it, but that does not signify : this much at least 
I have made out, that things are not quite equally divided 
in the world, either for dogs or for men. Not all are 
destined to sit on a lady's lap and to drink milk : /'ve not 
been accustomed to it, but I've seen one of those little lap 
dogs, driving in the coach, and taking up a passenger's 
place in it ; the lady, who was its mistress, or whose 
master it was, had a little bottle of milk with her, out of 
which she gave the dog a drink ; and she offered him 
sweetmeats, but he only sniffed at them, and would not 
even accept them, and then she ate them up herself. 
I was running along in the mud beside the carriage, as 
hungry as a dog can be, chewing my own thoughts, that 
this could not be quite right ; but they say a good many 
things are going on that are not quite right. Should you 
like to sit in a lady's lap and ride in a coach ? I should 
be glad if you did. But one can't manage that for 
oneself. I never could manage it, either by barking or 

These were Ajola's words ; and Rudy embraced him 
and kissed him heartily on his wet nose ; then the lad took 
the Cat in his arms, but Puss struggled, saying, 

' You 're too strong for me, and I don't like to use my 
claws against you ! Clamber away over the mountains, 
for I have taught you how to climb. Don't think that 
you can fall, and then you will be sure to maintain your 

And so saying the Cat ran away, not wishing Rudy to 
see that the tears were in his eyes. 

The Fowls were strutting about in the room. One of 
them had lost its tail. A traveller who wanted to be a 


sportsman had shot the Fowl's tail away, looking upon the 
bird as a bird of prey. 

' Rudy wants to go across the mountains,' said one of 
the Fowls. 

' He 's always in a hurry,' said the other, ' and I don't 
like saying good-bye.' 

And with this they both tripped away. 

To the Goats he also said farewell ; and they bleated 
' Meek ! meek ! ' which made him feel very sorrowful. 

Two brave guides from the neighbourhood, who wanted 
to go across the mountains to the other side of the Gemmi, 
took him with them, and he followed them on foot. It 
was a tough march for such a little fellow, but Rudy was 
a strong boy, and his courage never gave way. 

The Swallows flew with them for a little distance. ' We 
and ye ! we and ye ! ' sang they. The road led across the 
foaming Liitschine, w^hich pours forth in many little 
streams from the black cleft of the Grindelwald glacier 
and fallen trunks of trees and blocks of stone serve for 
a bridge. When they had reached the forest opposite, 
they began to ascend the slope where the glacier had 
slipped away from the mountain, and now they strode 
across and around ice blocks over the glacier. Rudy some- 
times had alternately to crawl and to walk for some dis- 
tance : his eyes gleamed with delight, and he trod so 
firmly in his spiked climbing-shoes that it seemed as if he 
wished to leave a trace behind him at every footstep. 
The black earth which the mountain stream had strewn 
over the glacier gave the great mass a swarthy look, but 
the bluish-green glassy ice nevertheless peered through. 
They had to make circuits round the numerous little lakes 
which had formed among the great blocks of ice, and now 
and then they passed close to a great stone that lay totter- 
ing on the edge of a crack in the ice, and sometimes the 
stone would overbalance, and roll crashing down, and 
a hollow echo sounded forth from the deep dark fissures 
in the glacier. 

Thus they continued climbing. The glacier itself ex- 
tended upwards like a mighty river of piled-up ice masses, 
shut in by steep rocks. Rudy thought for a moment of 
the tale they had told him, how he and his mother had 


lain in one of these deep, cold -breathing fissures ; but soon 
all such thoughts vanished from him, and the tale seemed 
to him only like many others of the same kind which he 
had heard. Now and then, when the men thought the 
way too toilsome for the little lad, they would reach him 
a hand ; but he did not grow tired, and stood on the 
smooth ice as safely as a chamois. Now they stepped on 
the face of the rock, and strode on among the rugged 
stones ; sometimes, again, they marched among the pine 
trees, and then over the pasture grounds, ever seeing new 
and changing landscapes. Around them rose snow-clad 
mountains, whose names the ' Jungfrau ', the ' Monch ', 
the ' Eiger ', were known to every child, and consequently 
to Rudy too, Rudy had never yet been so high ; he had 
never yet stepped on the outspread sea of snow : here it 
lay with its motionless snowy billows, from which the wind 
every now and then blew off a flake, as it blows the foam 
from the waves of the sea. The glaciers stand here, so to 
speak, hand in hand ; each one is a glass palace for the 
Ice Maiden, whose might and whose desire it is to catch 
and to bury. The sun shone warm, the snow was dazzlingly 
white and seemed strewn with bluish sparkling diamonds. 
Numberless insects, especially butterflies and bees, lay dead 
upon the snow ; they had ventured too high, or the wind 
had carried them up until they perished in the frosty air. 
Above the Wetterhorn hung, like a bundle of fine black 
wool, a threatening cloud ; it bowed down, teeming with 
the weight it bore, the weight of a whirlwind, irresistible 
when once it bursts forth. The impressions of this whole 
journey — the night encampment in these lofty regions, the 
further walk, the deep rocky chasms, where the water has 
pierced through the blocks of stone by a labour, at the 
thought of whose duration the mind stands still — all this 
was indelibly impressed upon Rudy's recollection. 

A deserted stone building beyond the snow sea offered 
them a shelter for the night. Here they found fuel and 
pine branches, and soon a fire was kindled, and the bed 
arranged for the night as comfortably as possible. Then 
the men seated themselves round the fire, smoked their 
pipes, and drank the warm refreshing drink they had 
prepared for themselves. Rudy received his share of the 


supper ; and then the men began telling stories of the 
mysterious beings of the Alpine land : of the strange 
gigantic serpents that lay coiled in the deep lakes ; of the 
marvellous company of spirits that had been known to 
carry sleeping men by night through the air to the wonder- 
ful floating city, Venice ; of the wild shepherd who drove 
his black sheep across the mountain pastures, and how, 
though no man had seen him, the sound of the bell and the 
ghostly bleating of the flock had been heard by many. 
Rudy listened attentively, but without any feeling of fear, 
for he knew not what fear meant ; and while he listened 
he seemed to hear the hollow, unearthly bleating and 
lowing ; and it became more and more audible, so that 
presently the men heard it too, and stopped in their talk 
to listen, and told Rudy he must not go to sleep. 

It was a ' Fohn ', the mighty whirlwind that hurls itself 
from the mountains into the valley, cracking the trees in 
its strength as if they were feeble reeds, and carrying the 
wooden houses from one bank of a river to the other as we 
move the flgures on a chessboard. 

After the lapse of about an hour, they told Rudy it was 
all over, and he might go to sleep ; and tired out with his 
long march, he went to sleep as at the word of command. 

Very early next morning they resumed their journey. 
This day the sun shone on new mountains for Rudy, on 
fresh glaciers and new fields of snow : they had entered 
the Canton of Wallis, and had proceeded beyond the ridge 
which could be seen from the Grindelwald ; but they were 
still far from the new home. Other chasms came in view, 
new valleys, forests, and mountain paths, and new houses 
also came into view, and other people. But what strange- 
looking people were these ! They were deformed, and had 
fat, sallow faces ; and from their necks hung heavy, ugly 
lumps of flesh, like bags : they were cretins, dragging 
themselves languidly along, and looking at the strangers 
with stupid eyes ; the women especially were hideous in 
appearance. Were the people in his new home like these ? 



Thank Heaven ! the people in the house of Rudy's 
uncle, where the boy was now to live, looked like those he 
had been accustomed to see ; only one of them was a 
cretin, a poor idiotic lad, one of those pitiable creatures 
who wander in their loneliness from house to house in the 
Canton of Wallis, staying a couple of months with each 
family. Poor Saperli happened to be at Rudy's uncle's 
when the boy arrived. 

Uncle was still a stalwart huntsman, and, moreover, 
understood the craft of tub-making ; his wife w^as a little 
lively woman with a face like a bird's. She had eyes like 
an eagle, and her neck was covered with a fluffy down. 

Everything here was new to Rudy — costume, manners, 
and habits, and even the language ; but to the latter the 
child's ear would soon adapt itself. There was an appear- 
ance of wealth here, compared with grandfather's dwelling. 
The room was larger, the walls were ornamented with 
chamois horns, among which hung polished rifles, and 
over the door was a picture of the Madonna, with fresh 
Alpine roses and a lamp burning in front of it. 

As already stated, uncle was one of the best chamois 
hunters in the whole country, and one of the most trusted 
guides. In this household Rudy was now to become the 
pet child. There was one pet here already in the person 
of an old blind and deaf hound, who no longer went out 
hunting as he had been used to do ; but his good qualities 
of former days had not been forgotten, and therefore he 
was looked upon as one of the family and carefully tended. 
Rudy stroked the dog, who, however, was not willing to 
make acquaintance with a stranger ; but Rudy did not 
long remain a stranger in that house. 

' It is not bad living, here in the Canton of Wallis,' said 
uncle ; ' and we have chamois here, who don't die out so 
quickly as the steinbock ; and it is much better here now 
than in former days. They may say what they like in 
honour of the old times, but ours are better, after all : 
the bag has been opened, and a fresh wind blows through 
our sequestered valley. Something better always comes 


up when the old is worn out,' he continued. And when 
uncle was in a very communicative mood, he would tell 
of his youthful years, and of still earlier times, the strong 
times of his father, when Wallis was, as he expressed it, 
a closed bag, full of sick people and miserable cretins. 
' But the French soldiers came in,' he said, ' and they were 
the proper doctors, for they killed the disease at once, and 
they killed the people who had it too. They knew all 
about fighting, did the French, and they could fight in 
more than one way. Their girls could make conquests 
too,' and then uncle would laugh and nod to his wife, who 
was a Frenchwoman by birth. ' The French hammered 
away at our stones in famous style ! They hammered the 
Simplon road through the rocks — such a road that I can 
now say to a child of three years, " Go to Italy, only keep 
to the high road," and the child will arrive safely in Italy 
if it does not stray from the road.' 

And then uncle would sing a French song, and cry 
' Hurrah for Napoleon Bonaparte ! ' 

Here Rudy for the first time heard them tell of France 
and Lyons, the great town on the Rhone, where his uncle 
had been. 

Not many years were to elapse before Rudy should 
become an expert chamois hunter ; his uncle said he had the 
stuff for it in him, and accordingly^ taught him to handle 
a rifle, to take aim, and shoot ; and in the hunting season 
he took the lad with him into the mountains and let him 
drink the warm blood of the chamois, which cures the 
huntsman of giddiness ; he also taught him to judge of 
the various times when the avalanches would roll down 
the mountains, at noon or at evening, according as the 
sunbeams had shone upon the place ; he taught him to 
notice the way the chamois sprang, that Rudy might 
learn to come down firmly on his feet ; and told him that 
where the rocky cleft gave no support for the foot, a man 
must cling by his elbows, hips, and legs, and that even the 
neck could be used as a support in case of need. The 
chamois w^ere clever, he said — they posted sentinels ; but 
the hunter should be more clever still — keep out of the fine 
of scent, and lead them astray ; and one day when Rudy 
was out hunting with uncle, the latter hung his coat and 


hat on the alpenstock, and the chamois took the coat for 
a man. 

The rocky path was narrow ; it was, properly speaking, 
not a path at all, but merely a narrow shelf beside the 
yawning abyss. The snow that lay here was half thawed, 
the stone crumbled beneath the tread, and therefore uncle 
laid himself down and crept forward. Every fragment 
that crumbled away from the rock fell down, jumping and 
rolling from one ledge of rock to another until it was lost 
to sight in the darkness below. About a hundred paces 
behind his uncle, stood Rudy, on a firm projecting point of 
rock ; and from this station he saw a great vulture circling 
in the air and hovering over uncle, whom it evidently 
intended to hurl into the abyss with a blow of its wings, 
that it might make a prey of him. Uncle's whole attention 
was absorbed by the chamois, which was to be seen, with 
its young one, on the other side of the cleft. Rudy kept 
his eyes on the bird. He knew what the vulture intended 
to do, and accordingly stood with his rifle ready to fire ; 
when suddenly the chamois leaped up : uncle fired, and 
the creature fell pierced by the deadly bullet ; but the 
young one sprang away as if it had been accustomed all its 
life to flee from danger. Startled by the sound of the rifle, 
the great bird soared away in another direction, and uncle 
knew nothing of the danger in which he had stood until 
Rudy informed him of it. 

As they were returning homeward, in the best spirits, 
uncle whistling one of the songs of his youth, they suddenly 
heard a peculiar noise not far from them ; they looked 
around, and there on the declivity of the mountain, the 
snowy covering suddenly rose, and began to heave up and 
down, like a piece of linen stretched on a field when the 
wind passes beneath it. The snow waves, which had been 
smooth and hard as marble slabs, now broke to pieces, 
and the roar of waters sounded like rumbling thunder. 
An avalanche was falling, not over Rudy and uncle, but 
near where they stood, not at all far from them. 

' Hold fast, Rudy ! ' cried uncle, ' hold fast with all your 

And Rudy clung to the trunk of the nearest tree. Uncle 
clambered up above him, and the avalanche rolled past, 


many feet from them ; but the concussion of the air, the 
stormy wings of the avalanche, broke trees and shrubs all 
around as if they had been frail reeds, and scattered the 
fragments headlong down. Rudy lay crouched upon the 
earth, the trunk of the tree to which he clung was spht 
through, and the crown hurled far away ; and there among 
the broken branches lay uncle, with his head shattered : 
liis hand was still warm, but his face could no longer be 
recognized. Rudy stood by him pale and trembling ; it 
was the first fright of his life — the first time he felt a 
shudder run through him. 

Late at night he brought the sorrowful news into his 
home, which was now a house of mourning. The wife 
could find no words, no tears for her grief ; at last, when 
the corpse was brought home, her sorrow found utterance. 
The poor cretin crept into his bed, and was not seen during 
the whole of the next day ; but at last, towards evening, 
he stole up to Rudy. 

' Write a letter for me,' he said. ' Saperli can't write, 
but Saperli can carry the letter to the post.' 

' A letter from you ? ' asked Rudy. ' And to whom ? ' 

' To the Lord.' 

' To whom do you say ? ' 

And the simpleton, as they called the cretin, looked at 
Rudy with a moving glance, folded his hands, and said 
solemnly and slowly, 

' To the Saviour ! Saperli will send Him a letter, and 
beg that Saperli may lie dead, and not the man in the 
house here.' 

Rudy pressed his hand, and said, 

' The letter would not arrive, and it cannot restore him 
to us.' 

But it was very difficult to make poor Saperli believe 
that this was impossible. 

' Now thou art the prop of this house,' said the widow ; 
and Rudy became that. 




Who is the best marksman in the Canton of Wallis ? 
The chamois knew well enough, and said to each other, 
' Beware of Rudy.' Who is the handsomest marksman ? 
' Why, Rudy,' said the girls ; but they did not add, ' Beware 
of Rudy.' Nor did even the grave mothers pronounce 
such a warning, for Rudy nodded at them just as kindly 
as at the young maidens. How quick and merry he was ! 
His cheeks were browned, his teeth regular and white, and 
liis eyes black and shining ; he was a handsome lad, and 
only twenty years old. The icy water could not harm 
him when he swam ; he could turn and twist in the water 
like a fish, and climb better than any man in the moun- 
tains ; he could cling like a snail to the rocky ledge, for he 
had good sinews and muscles of his own ; and he showed 
that in his power of jumping, an art he had learned first 
from the Cat and afterwards from the goats. Rudy was 
the safest guide to whom any man could trust himseK, 
and might have amassed a fortune in that calling ; his 
uncle had also taught him the craft of tub-making ; but 
he did not take to that occupation, preferring chamois 
hunting, which also brought in money. Rudy was what 
might be called a good match, if he did not look higher 
than his station. And he was such a dancer that the 
girls dreamed of him, and indeed more than one of them 
carried the thought of him into her waking hours. 

' He kissed me once at the dance ! ' said the school- 
master's daughter Annette to her dearest girl-friend ; but 
she should not have said that, even to her dearest friend. 
A secret of that kind is hard to keep — it is Hke sand in 
a sieve, sure to run out ; and soon it was known that Rudy, 
honest lad though he was, kissed his partner in the dance ; 
and yet he had not kissed the one whom he would have 
liked best of all to kiss. 

* Yes,' said an old hunter, ' he has kissed Annette. He 
has begun with A, and will kiss his way through the whole 

A kiss at the dance was all that the busy tongues could 


say against him until now : he had certainly kissed 
Annette, but she was not the beloved one of his heart. 

Down in the valley near Bex, among the great walnut 
trees, by a little brawling mountain stream, lived the rich 
miller. The dwelling-house was a great building, three 
stories high, with little towers, roofed with planks and 
covered with plates of metal that shone in the sunlight 
and in the moonlight ; the principal tower was surmounted 
by a weather-vane, a flashing arrow that had pierced an 
apple — an emblem of Tell's famous feat. The mill looked 
pleasant and comfortable, and could be easily drawn and 
described ; but the miller's daughter could neither be 
drawn nor described — so, at least, Rudy would have said ; 
and yet she was portrayed in his heart, where her eyes 
gleamed so brightly that they had lighted up a fire. This 
had burst out quite suddenly, as other fires break forth ; 
and the strangest thing of all was, that the miller's daughter, 
pretty Babette, had no idea of the conquest she had made, 
for she and Rudy had never exchanged a word together. 

The miller was rich, and this wealth of his made Babette 
very difficult to get at. But nothing is so high that it may 
not be i*eached if a man will but climb ; and he will not 
fall, if he is not afraid of falling. That was a lesson Rudy 
had brought from his first home. 

Now it happened that on one occasion Rudy had some 
business to do in Bex. It was quite a journey thither, 
for in those days the railway had not yet been completed. 
From the Rhone glacier, along the foot of the Simplon, 
away among many changing mountain heights, the proud 
valley of Wallis extends, with its mighty river the Rhone, 
which often overflows its banks and rushes across the fields 
and high roads, carrying destruction with it. Between 
the little towns of Sion and St. Maurice the valley makes 
a bend, like an elbow, and becomes so narrow below 
St. Maurice that it only affords room for the bed of the 
river and a narrow road. An old tower here stands as 
a sentinel at the boundary of the Canton of Wallis, which 
ends here. The tower looks across over the stone bridge 
at the toll-house on the opposite side. There commences 
the Canton of Waud, and at a little distance is the first 
town of that Canton, Bex. At every step the signs of 


fertility and plenty increase, and the traveller seems to be 
journejdng through a garden of walnut trees and chest- 
nuts ; here and there cypresses appear, and blooming pome- 
granates ; and the climate has the southern warmth of 

Rudy duly arrived in Bex, and concluded his business 
there ; then he took a turn in the town ; but not even 
a miller's lad, much less Babette, did he see there. That 
was not as it should be. 

Evening came on ; the air was full of the fragrance of 
the wild thyme and of the blooming lime trees ; a gleaming 
bluish veil seemed to hang over the green mountains ; far 
around reigned a silence — not the silence of sleep or of 
death, but a stillness as if all nature held its breath, as if it 
were waiting to have its picture photographed upon the 
blue sky. Here and there among the trees on the green 
meadows stood long poles, supporting the telegraph wires 
that had been drawn through the quiet valley ; against 
one of these leaned an object so motionless that it might 
have been taken for the trunk of a tree ; but it was Rudy, 
who stood as quiet and motionless as all nature around 
liim. He did not sleep, nor was he dead by any means ; 
but just as the records of great events sometimes fly along 
the telegraph — messages of vital importance to those whom 
they concern, while the wire gives no sign, by sound or 
movement, of what is passing over it — so there was passing 
through the mind of Rudy a thought which was to be the 
happiness of his whole life and his one absorbing idea from 
that moment. His eyes were fixed on one point — on a 
light that gleamed out among the trees from the chamber 
of the miller where Babette dwelt. So motionless did 
Rudy stand here, one might have thought he was taking 
aim at a chamois, a creature which sometimes stands as if 
carved out of the rock, till suddenly, if a stone should roll 
down, it springs away in a headlong career. And some- 
thing of this kind happened to Rudy — suddenly a thought 
rolled into his mind. 

' Never falter ! ' he cried. ' Pay a visit to the mill, say 
good evening to the miller and good evening to Babette. 
He does not fall who is not afraid of falling. Babette must 
see me, sooner or later, if I am to be her husband.' 


And Rudy laughed, for he was of good courage, and he 
strode away towards the mill. He knew what he wanted ; 
he wanted to have Babette. 

The river, with its yellowish bed, foamed along, and the 
willows and lime trees hung over the hurrying waters ; 
Rudy strode along the path. But, as the children's song 
has it : 

Nobody was at home to greet him. 
Only the house cat came to meet him. 

The house cat stood on the step and said ' Miaou ', and 
arched her back ; but Rudy paid no attention to this 
address. He knocked, but no one heard him, no one 
opened the door to him. ' Miaou ! ' said the cat. If Rudy 
had been still a child, he would have understood her lan- 
guage, and have known that the cat was saying, ' There 's 
nobody at home here ! ' but now he must fain go over 
to the mill to make inquiries, and there he heard the news 
that the miller had gone far away to Interlaken, and 
Babette with him : a great shooting match was to come 
off there ; it would begin to-morrow, and last a full week, 
and people from all the German Cantons were to be present 
at it. 

Poor Rudy ! he might be said to have chosen an unlucky 
day for his visit to Bex, and now he might go home. He 
turned about accordingly, and marched over St. Maurice 
and Sion towards his own valley and the mountains of his 
home ; but he was not discouraged. When the sun rose 
next morning his good humour already stood high, for it 
had never set. 

' Babette is at Interlaken, many days' journey from 
here,' he said to himself. ' It is a long way thither if a 
man travels along the broad high road, but it is not so 
far if one takes the short cut across the mountains, and the 
chamois hunter's path is straight forward. I've been that 
way already : yonder is my early home, where I lived as 
a child in grandfather's house, and there 's a shooting 
match at Interlaken. I'll be there too, and be the best 
shot ; and I'll be with Babette too, when once I have 
made her acquaintance.' 

With a light knapsack containing his Sunday clothes on 
his back, and his gun and hunting bag across his shoulder, 


Rudy mounted the hill by the short cut, which was, never- 
theless, tolerably long ; but the shooting match had only 
begun that day, and was to last a week or more ; and 
they had told him that the miller and Babette would pass 
the whole time with their friends at Interlaken. Rudy 
marched across the Gemmi, intending to descend at 

Fresh and merry, he walked on in the strengthening 
light mountain air. The valley sank deeper and deeper 
behind him, and his horizon became more and more 
extended ; here a snowy peak appeared, and there another, 
and presently the whole gleaming white chain of the Alps 
could be seen. Rudy knew every peak, and he m.ade 
straight towards the Schreckhorn, that raised its white- 
powdered, stony finger up into the blue air. 

At last he had crossed the ridge. The grassy pastures 
sloped down towards the valley of his old home. The air 
was light and his spirits were light. Mountain and valley 
bloomed fair with verdure and with flowers, and his heart 
was filled with the feeling of youth, that recks not of 
coming age or of death. To live, to conquer, to enjoy, 
free as a bird ! — and light as a bird he felt. And the 
swallows flew past him, and sang, as they had sang in his 
childhood, ' We and ye ! we and ye ! ' and all seemed joy 
and rapid motion. 

Below lay the summer-green meadow, studded with 
brown wooden houses, with the Ltitschine rushing and 
humming among them. He saw the glacier with the grass- 
green borders and the clouded snow ; he looked into the 
deep crevasses, and beheld the upper and the lower glacier. 
The church bells sounded across to him, as if they were 
ringing to welcome him into the valley of home ; and his 
heart beat stronger, and swelled so, that for a moment 
Babette entirely disappeared, so large did his heart become, 
and so full of recollections. 

He went along again, up on the mountain where he had 
stood as a child with other little children, offering carved 
houses for sale. There among the pine trees stood the 
house of his grandfather ; but strangers inhabited it now. 
Children came running along the road towards him to sell 
their wares, and one of them offered him an Alpine rose. 


which Rudy looked upon as a good omen, and thought of 
Babette. Soon he had crossed the bridge where the two 
branches of the Liitschine join ; the woods became thicker 
here and the walnut trees gave a friendly shade. Now 
he saw the waving flags, the flags with the white cross in 
a red field, the national emblem of the Switzer and the 
Dane, and Interlaken lay before him. 

This was certainly a town without equal, according to 
Rudy's estimate. It was a little Swiss town in its Sunday 
dress. It did not look like other places, a heavy mass of 
stone houses, dismal and pretentious ; no, here the wooden 
houses looked as if they had run down into the valley 
from the hills, and placed themselves in a row beside the 
clear river that ran so gaily by ; they were a little out of 
order, but nevertheless they formed a kind of street ; 
and the prettiest of all the streets was one that had grown 
up since Rudy had been here in his boyish days ; and it 
looked to him as if it had been built of all the natty little 
houses his grandfather had carved, and which used to be 
kept in the cupboard of the old house. A whole row of 
such houses seemed to have grown up here like strong 
chestnut trees ; each of them was called an hotel, and 
had carved work on the windows and doors, and a pro- 
jecting roof, prettily and tastefully built, and in front of 
each was a garden separating it from the broad mac- 
adamized road. The houses only stood on one side of the 
road, so that they did not hide the fresh green pastures, 
in which the cows were walking about with bells round 
their necks like those which sound upon the lofty Alps. 
The pasture was surrounded by high mountains, which 
seemed to have stepped aside in the middle, so that the 
sparkling snow-covered mountain, the ' Jungfrau ', the 
most beautiful of all the Swiss peaks, could be plainly seen. 

What a number of richly dressed ladies and gentlemen 
from foreign lands ! what a crowd of people from the 
various Cantons ! Every marksman wore his number 
displayed in a wreath round his hat. There was music 
and singing, barrel organs and trumpets, bustle and noise. 
Houses and bridges were adorned with verses and emblems ; 
flags and banners were waving ; the rifles cracked merrily 
now and again ; and in Rudy's ears the sound of the shots 


was the sweetest music ; and in the bustle and tumult he had 
quite forgotten Babette, for whose sake he had come. 

And now the marksmen went crowding to shoot at the 
target. Rudy soon took up his station among them, and 
proved to be the most skilful and the most fortunate of 
all — each time his bullet struck the black spot in the centre 
of the target. 

' Who may that stranger, that young marksman be ? ' 
asked many of the bystanders. ' He speaks the French 
they talk in the Canton of Wallis.' 

' He can also make himself well understood in our 
German,' said others. 

' They say he lived as a child in the neighbourhood of 
Grindelwald,' observed one of the marksmen. 

And he was full of life, this stranger youth. His eyes 
gleamed, and his glance and his arm were sure, and that 
is why he hit the mark so well. Fortune gives courage, 
but Rudy had courage enough of his own. He had soon 
assembled a circle of friends round him, who paid him 
honour, and showed respect for him ; and Babette was 
almost forgotten for the moment. Then suddenly a heavy 
hand clapped him on the shoulder, and a deep voice 
addressed him in the French tongue : 

' You're from the Canton of Wallis ? ' 

Rudy turned round, and saw a red good-humoured face, 
belonging to a portly person. The speaker was the rich 
miller of Bex ; and his broad body almost eclipsed the 
pretty delicate Babette, who, however, soon peeped forth 
from behind him with her bright dark eyes. It pleased 
the rich miller that a marksman from his Canton should 
have shot best, and have won respect from all present. 
Well, Rudy was certainly a fortunate youth, for the person 
for whose sake he had come, but whom he had forgotten 
after his arrival, now came to seek him out. 

When fellow countrymen meet at a long distance from 
home, they are certain to converse and to make acquain- 
tance with one another. By virtue of his good shooting, 
Rudy had become the first at the marksmen's meeting, 
just as the miller was the first at home in Bex on the 
strength of his money and his good mill ; and so the two 
men shook hands, a thing they had never done before ; 


Babette also held out her hand frankly to Rudy, who 
pressed it so warmly and gave her such an earnest look 
that she blushed crimson to the roots of her hair. 

The miller talked of the long distance they had come, 
and of the many huge towns they had seen ; according to 
his idea, they had made quite a long journey of it, having 
travelled by railway, steamboat, and diligence. 

' I came the shortest way,' observed Rudy. ' I walked 
across the mountains. No road is so high but a man may 
get over it.' 

' And break his neck,' quoth the miller. ' You look just 
the fellow to break your neck one of these days, so bold 
as you are, too.' 

' Oh, a man does not fall unless he is afraid of falling,' 
observed Rudy. 

The relatives of the miller in Interlaken, at whose house 
he and Babette were staying, invited Rudy to visit them, 
since he belonged to the same Canton as the rich miller. 
That was a good offer for Rudy. Fortune was favourable 
to him, as she always is to any one who seeks to win by his 
own energy, and remembers that ' Providence provides us 
with nuts, but leaves us to crack them '. 

Rudy sat among the miller's relatives like one of the 
family. A glass was emptied to the health of the best 
marksman, and Babette clinked her glass with the rest, 
and Rudy returned thanks for the toast. 

Towards evening they all took a walk on the pretty road 
by the prosperous hotels under the old walnut trees, and so 
many people were there, and there was so much pushing, 
that Rudy was obliged to offer his arm to Babette. He 
declared he was very glad to have met people from Waud, 
for Waud and Wallis were good neighbour Cantons. He 
expressed his joy so heartily, that Babette could not help 
giving him a grateful pressure of the hand. They walked 
on together as if they had been old friends, and she talked 
and chattered av/ay ; and Rudy thought how charmingly 
she pointed out the ridiculous and absurd points in the 
costumes and manners of the foreign ladies ; not that she 
did it to make game of them, for they might be very 
good honourable people, as Babette well knew, for was not 
her own godmother one of these grand English ladies ? 


Eighteen years ago, when Babette was christened, this 
lady had been residing in Bex, and had given Babette the 
costly brooch the girl now wore on her neck. Twice the 
lady had written, and this year Babette had expected to 
meet her and her two daughters at Interlaken. ' The 
daughters were old maids, nearly thirty years old,' added 
Babette ; but then she herself was only eighteen. 

The sweet little mouth never rested for a moment ; and 
everything that Babette said, sounded in Rudy's ears like 
a matter of the utmost importance ; and he, on his part, 
told all he had to tell — how often he had been at Bex, 
how well he knew the mill, and how often he had seen 
Babette, though she had probably never noticed him ; 
and how, when he had lately called at the mill, full of 
thoughts that he could not express, she and her father had 
been absent — had gone far away, but not so far that a man 
might not climb over the wall that made the way so long. 

He said all that and a great deal more. He said how 
fond he was of her, and that he had come hither on her 
account, and not for the sake of the marksmen's meeting. 

Babette was quite still while he said all this ; it almost 
seemed to her as if he entrusted her with too great a secret. 

And as they wandered on, the sun sank down behind 
the high rocky wall. The ' Jungfrau ' stood there in full 
beauty and splendour, surrounded by the green wreath of 
the forest-clad hills. Every one stood still to enjoy the 
glorious sight, and Rudy and Babette rejoiced in it too. 

' It is nowhere more beautiful than here ! ' said Babette. 

* Nowhere ! ' cried Rudy, and he looked at Babette. 
' To-morrow I must return home,' he said, after a silence 
of a few moments. 

' Come and see us at Bex,' whispered Babette ; ' it will 
please my father.' 


On the Way Home 

Oh, what a load Rudy had to carry when he went home- 
ward across the mountains on the following day ! Yes. 
he had three silver goblets, two handsome rifles, and a silver 
coffee-pot. The coffee-pot would be useful when he set 


up housekeeping. But that was not all he had to carry : 
he bore something mightier and weightier, or rather it 
bore him, carrying him homewards across the high moun- 
tains. The weather was rough, grey, rainy, and heavy; 
the clouds floated down upon the mountain heights like 
funereal crape, concealing the sparkling summits. From 
the woodland valleys the last strokes of the axe sounded 
upward, and down the declivities of the mountains rolled 
trunks of trees, which looked like thin sticks from above, 
but were in reality thick enough to serve as masts for the 
largest ships. The Liitschine foamed along with its 
monotonous song, the wind whistled, the clouds sailed 
onward. Then suddenly a young girl appeared, walking 
beside Rudy : he had not noticed her till now that she 
was quite close to him. She wanted, like himself, to cross 
the mountain. The maiden's eyes had a peculiar power : 
you were obliged to look at them, and they were strange 
to behold, clear as glass, and deep, unfathomable. 

' Have you a sweetheart ? ' asked Rudy, for his thoughts 
all ran on that subject. 

' I have none,' replied the girl, with a laugh ; but she 
did not seem to be speaking a true word. ' Don't let us 
make a circuit,' she said. ' We must keep more to the left, 
then the way will be shorter.' 

' Yes, and we shall fall into an ice cleft,' said Rudy. 
* You want to be a guide, and you don't know the way 
better than that ! ' 

' I know the way well,' the girl replied, ' and my thoughts 
are not wandering. Yours are down in the valley, but 
up here one ought to think of the Ice Maiden : she does 
not love the human race — so people say.' 

' I'm not afraid of her,' cried Rudy. "^ She was obliged 
to give me up when I was still a child, and I shall not give 
myself up to her now that I am older.' 

And the darkness increased, the rain fell, and the snow 
came, and dazzled and blinded. 

' Reach me your hand,' said the girl to Rudy ; * I will 
help you to climb.' 

And he felt the touch of her fingers icy cold upon him. 

' You help me ! ' cried Rudy. ' I don't want a woman's 
help to show me how to climb.' 


And he went on faster, away from her. The driving 
snow closed round him hke a mantle, the wind whistled, 
and behind him he heard the girl laughing and singing in 
a strange way. He felt sure she was a phantom in the 
service of the Ice Maiden. Rudy had heard tell of such 
apparitions when he passed the night on the mountains in 
his boyish days, during his journey from his grandfather's 

The snow-fall abated, and the cloud was now below him. 
He looked back, but nobody was to be seen ; but he could 
hear laughter and whooping that did not seem to proceed 
from a human voice. 

When Rudy at last reached the highest mountain plateau, 
whence the path led downward into the Rhone valley, he 
saw in the direction of Chamonix, in a strip of pure blue 
sky, two bright stars which glittered and twinkled ; and 
he thought of Babette, of himself, and of his good fortune, 
and the thought made him quite warm. 


The Visit to the Mill 

' What magnificent things you have brought home ! ' 
exclaimed the old aunt ; and her strange eagle's eyes 
flashed, and her thin neck waved to and fro faster than 
ever in strange contortions. ' You have luck, Rudy ! 
I must kiss you, my darling boy ! ' 

And Rudy allowed himself to be kissed, but with an 
expression in his face which told that he submitted to it 
as a necessary evil, a little domestic infliction. 

' How handsome you are, Rudy ! ' said the old woman. 

' Don't put nonsense into my head,' replied Rudy, with 
a laugh ; but still he was pleased to hear her say it. 

* I repeat it,' she cried. ' Good luck attends upon you ! ' 

' Perhaps you are right,' he observed ; and he thought 
of Babette. 

Never had he felt such a longing to go down into the 
deep valley. 

' They must have returned,' he said to himself, * It is 


two days beyond the time when they were to have been 
back. I must go to Bex.' 

Accordingly Rudy journeyed to Bex, and the people of 
the mill were at home. He was well received, and the 
people at Interlaken had sent a kind message of remem- 
brance to him. Babette did not say much : she had 
grown very silent, but her eyes spoke, and that was quite 
enough for Rudy. It seemed as if the miller, who was 
accustomed to lead the conversation, and who always 
expected his hearers to laugh at his ideas and jokes because 
he was the rich miller — it seemed as if he would never tire 
of hearing Rudy's hunting adventures ; and Rudy spoke 
of the dangers and difficulties the chamois hunters have to 
encounter on the high mountains, how they have to cling, 
how they have to clamber over the frail ledges of snow, 
that are, as it were, glued to the mountain-side by frost 
and cold, and to clamber across the bridges of snow that 
stretch across rocky chasms. And the eyes of the brave 
Rudy flashed while he told of the hunter's life, of the 
cunning of the chamois and its perilous leaps, of the mighty 
whirlwind and the rushing avalanches. He noticed clearly 
enough, that with every fresh narrative he enlisted the 
miller more and more in his favour ; and the old man felt 
especially interested in what the young hunter told about 
the vultures and the royal eagles. 

Not far off, in the Canton of Wallis, there was an eagle's 
nest built very cleverly under a steep overhanging rock, 
and in the nest was an eaglet which could not be captured. 
An Englishman had a few days before offered Rudy a hand- 
ful of gold pieces if he could procure him the eaglet alive. 

' But there is a limit in all things,' said Rudy : 'that 
eaglet is not to be taken ; it would be folly to make the 

And the wine flowed and conversation flowed ; but the 
evening appeared far too short for Rudy, although it was 
past midnight when he set out to go home after his first 
visit to the mill. 

The lights still gleamed for a short time through the 
windows of the mill among the green trees, and the Parlour 
Cat came forth from the open loophole in the roof, and met 
the Kitchen Cat walking along the rain-spout. 


' Do you know the news in the mill ? ' asked the Parlour 
Cat. ' There 's a silent engagement going on in the house. 
Father knows nothing about it. Rudy and Babette were 
treading on each other's paws under the table all the 
evening. They trod upon me twice, but I would not mew 
for fear of exciting attention.' 

' / should have mewed,' said the Kitchen Cat. 

' What will pass in the kitchen w^ould never do for the 
parlour,' retorted the other Cat ; ' but I 'm curious to 
know what the miller will think about it when he hears 
of the affair.' 

Yes, indeed, what would the miller say ? That is what 
Rudy would have liked to know too ; and, moreover, he 
could not bear to remain long in suspense without knowing 
it. Accordingly, a few days afterwards, when the omnibus 
rattled across the Rhone bridge between Wallis and Waud, 
Rudy sat in the vehicle, in good spirits as usual, and 
already basking in the sunny prospect of the consent he 
hoped to gain that very evening. 

And when the evening came, and the omnibus was 
making its way back, Rudy once more sat in it as a pas- 
senger ; but in the mill the Parlour Cat had some important 
news to tell. 

' Do you know it, you there out of the kitchen ? The 
miller has been told all about it. There was a fine end to 
it all. Rudy came here towards evening, and he and 
Babette had much to whisper and to tell each other, 
standing in the passage outside the miller's room. I w^as 
lying at their feet, but they had neither eyes nor thoughts 
for me. " I shall go to your father without more ado," 
said Rudy ; " that 's the honest way to do it." '' Shall 
I go with you ? " asked Babette ; " it will give you 
courage." "I've courage enough," replied Rudy ; " but 
if you are present he must be kind, whether he likes it or 
not." And they went in together. Rudy trod upon my 
tail most horribly. He 's a very awkward fellow, is Rudy. 
I called out, but neither he nor Babette had ears to hear 
me. They opened the door, and both went in, and I went 
on before them ; but I sprang up on the back of a chair, 
for I could not know where Rudy would kick. But it 
was the miller who kicked this time, and it was a good 


kick too ! out at the door and up to the mountain among the 
chamois ; and he may take aim at them now, may Rudy, 
and not at our Babette.' 

' But what did they say ? ' asked the Kitchen Cat. 

' What did they say ? Why, they said everything that 
people are accustomed to say when they come a-wooing. 
" I love her and she loves me, and if there 's milk enough 
in the pail for one, there 's enough for two." " But she 's 
perched too high for you," said the miller. " She 's 
perched on grist, on golden grist, as you very well know, 
and you can't reach up to her." " Nothing is so high 
that a man can't reach it, if he has the will," said Rudy, 
for he is a bold fellow. " But you can't reach the eaglet, 
you said so yourself the other day, and Babette is higher 
than that." " I shall take both of them," exclaimed 
Rudy. " I'll give you Babette when you give me the 
young eaglet alive," said the miller, and he laughed till 
the tears ran down his cheeks. " But now I must thank 
you for your visit. Call again to-morrow, and you'll find 
nobody at home. Good-bye to you, Rudy." And Babette 
said good-bye too, as pitifully as a little kitten that can't 
see its mother yet. " Your word is your bond," cried 
Rudy, " Don't cry, Babette : I'll bring you the eaglet ! " 
" You'll break your neck first, I hope," said the miller, 
" and then we shall be rid of your dangling here ! " That 's 
what I call a capital kick ! 

* And now Rudy is gone, and Babette sits and weeps, 
but the miller sings German songs that he has learned on 
his late journey. I don't like to be downhearted about it, 
for that can do no good ! ' 

' Well, after all, there 's some prospect for him still,' 
observed the Kitchen Cat. 


The Eagle's Nest 

Down from the rocky path sounded a fresh song, merry 
and strong, indicating courage and good spirits ; and the 
singer was Rudy, who came to seek his friend Vesinand. 

' You must help me ! We will have Ragli with us. 
I want to take the eaglet out of the nest on the rock.' 


' Would you not like to take the black spots out of the 
moon first ? ' replied Vesinand. ' That would be just as 
easy. You seem to be in a merry mood.' 

' Certainly I am, for I hope to be married soon. But 
let us speak seriously, and I will tell you what it is all 

And soon Vesinand and Ragli knew what Rudy wanted. 

' You're a headstrong fellow,' they said. ' It can't be 
done : you will break your neck over it.' 

' A man does not fall who 's not afraid of falling,' Rudy 

At midnight they set out with poles, ladders, and ropes ; 
their way led through forest and thicket, over loose rolling 
stones, ever upward, upward, through the dark night. 
The water rushed beneath them, water dripped down from 
above, and heavy clouds careered through the air. The 
hunters reached the steep wall of rock. Here it was 
darker than ever. The opposite sides of the chasm almost 
touched, and the sky could only be seen through a small 
cleft above them, and around them and beneath them was 
the great abyss with its foaming waters. The three sat 
on the rock waiting for the dawn, when the eagle should 
fly forth, for the old bird must be shot before they could 
think of capturing the young one. Rudy sat on the ground, 
as silent as if he were a piece of the stone on which he 
crouched ; his rifle he held before him ready cocked ; his 
eyes were fixed on the upper cleft beneath which the eagle's 
nest lay concealed against the rock. And a long time 
those three hunters had to wait ! 

Now there was a rushing, whirring sound above them, 
and a great soaring object darkened the air. Two guns 
were pointed, as the black form of the eagle arose from the 
nest. A shot rang sharply out, for a moment the out- 
stretched wings continued to move, and then the bird sank 
slowly down, and it seemed with its outstretched wings to 
fill up the chasm, and threatened to bear down the hunters 
in its fall. Then the eagle sank down into the abyss, 
breaking off twigs of trees and bushes in its descent. 

And now the hunters began operations. Three of the 
longest ladders were bound together — those would reach 
high enough ; they were reared on end on the last firm 


foothold on the margin of the abyss ; but they did not 
reach far enough ; and higher up, where the nest lay 
concealed under the shelter of the projecting crag, the rock 
was as smooth as a wall. After a short council the men 
determined that two ladders should be tied together and 
let down from above into the cleft, and that these should 
be attached to the three that had been fastened together 
below. With great labour the two ladders were dragged 
up and the rope made fast above ; then the ladders were 
passed over the margin of the projecting rock, so that they 
hung dangling above the abyss. Rudy had already taken 
his place on the lowest step. It was an icy-cold morning ; 
misty clouds were rising from the dark chasm. Rudy sat 
as a fly sits on a waving wheat-straw which some nest- 
building bird has deposited on the edge of a factory chim- 
ney ; only the fly can spread its wings and escape if the 
wheat-straw gives way, while Rudy had nothing for it, 
in such a case, but to break his neck. The wind whistled 
about him, and below in the abyss thundered the waters 
from the melting glacier, the palace of the Ice Maiden. 

Now he imparted a swaying motion to the ladders, just 
as a spider sways itself to and fro, when, hanging at the 
end of its thread, it wishes to seize upon an object ; and 
when Rudy for the fourth time touched the top of the 
ladder, the highest of the three that had been bound 
together, he seized it and held it firmly. Then he bound 
the other two ladders with a strong hand to the first three, 
but they still rattled and swayed as if they had loose 

The five long ladders thus bound together, and standing 
perpendicularly against the rocky wall, looked like a long 
swaying reed ; and now came the most dangerous part 
of the business. There was climbing to be done as the cat 
climbs ; but Rudy had learned to climb, and it was the 
Cat who had taught him. He knew nothing of the Spirit 
of Giddiness who stood treading the air behind him, and 
stretching out long arms towards him like the feelers of 
a poljrpus. Now he stood upon the highest step of the 
topmost ladder, and perceived that after all it was not 
high enough to let him look into the nest : he could only 
reach up into it with his hand. He felt about to test the 



firmness of the thick plaited branches that formed the 
lower part of the nest, and when he had secured a thick 
steady piece he swung himself up by it from the ladder, 
and leaned against the branch, so that his head and 
shoulders were above the level of the nest. A stifling 
stench of carrion streamed towards him, for in the nest lay 
chamois, birds, and lambs, in a putrid state. The Spirit of 
Giddiness, that had no power over him, blew the poisonous 
vapour into his face, to make him sick and trouble his 
senses ; and below, in the black yawning gulf, on the 
rushing waters, sat the Ice Maiden herself, with her long 
whitish-green hair, and stared at him with cold deathlike 

' Now I shall catch you ! ' she thought. 

In a comer of the nest he saw the young one, which 
was not yet fledged, sitting large and stately. Rudy fixed 
his eyes upon it, held himseK fast with all the strength of 
one hand, while with the other he threw the noose over the 
young eagle. It was caught — caught alive ! Its legs were 
entangled in the tough noose, and Rudy threw the cord 
and the bird across his shoulder, so that the creature hung 
some distance beneath him, while he held fast by a rope 
they had lowered down to assist him, till his feet touched 
the topmost round of the ladder. 

' Hold fast ! Don't fancy you're going to fall, and you 
won't fall ! ' It was the old maxim, and he followed it ; 
he held fast and climbed, was convinced that he should 
not fall, and accordingly he did not fall. 

And now a whoop resounded, strong and jubilant, and 
Rudy stood safe and sound on the firm rock with the 
captured eaglet. 


What News the Pablour Cat had to Tell 
' Here is what you wished for ! ' said Rudy, as he 
entered the house of the miller at Bex. 

He set down a great basket on the ground, and lifted the 
cloth that covered it. Two yellow e^^es bordered with 
black stared forth ; they seemed to shoot forth sparks, 
and gleamed burning and savage, as if they would burn 


and bite all they looked at. The short strong beak was 
open, ready to snap, and the neck was red and do\\Tiy. 

' The young eagle ! ' cried the miller. 

Babette screamed aloud and started back, but she could 
not turn her eyes from Rudy or from the eagle. 

' You're not to be frightened off,' observed the miller. 

' And you always keep your word,' answered Rudy. 
* Every man has his own character.' 

' But why did you not break your neck ? ' asked the 

' Because I held fast,' replied Rudy ; ' and I do that 
still. I hold Babette fast ! ' 

' First see that you get her,' said the miller ; and he 
laughed. But his laughter was a good sign, and Babette 
knew it. 

' We must have him out of the basket ; his staring is 
enough to drive one mad. But how did you contrive to 
get at him ? ' 

And Rudy had to relate the adventure, at which the 
miller opened his eyes wider and wider. 

' With your courage and good fortune you may gain 
a living for three wives,' cried the miller at last. 

' Thank you ! ' said Rudy. 

' Still, 3^ou have not Babette yet,' continued the miller ; 
and he slapped the young huntsman playfully on the 

' Do you know the latest news from the mill ? ' the 
Parlour Cat inquired of the Kitchen Cat. ' Rudy has 
brought us the eaglet, and is going to take Babette away 
in exchange. They have kissed each other, and let the 
old man see it. That 's as good as a betrothal. The old 
man didn't kick ; he drew in his claws, and took his nap, 
and let the two young ones sit together and purr. They've 
so much to tell each other that they won't have done till 

And they had not done till Christmas. The wind tossed 
up the brown leaves ; the snow whirled through the valley 
and over the high mountains ; the Ice Maiden sat in her 
proud castle, which increases in size during the winter ; 
the rocky walls were covered with a coating of ice, and 
icicles thick as pine trunks and heavy as elephants hung 


down, where in the summer the mountain stream spread 
its misty veil ; garlands of ice of whimsical forms hung 
sparkling on the snow-powdered fir trees. The Ice Maiden 
rode on the rushing wind over the deepest valleys. The 
snowy covering reached almost down to Bex, and the Ice 
Maiden came thither also, and saw Rudy sitting in the 
mill : this winter he sat much more indoors than was his 
custom — he sat by Babette. The wedding was to be next 
summer ; their ears often buzzed, their friends spoke so 
much about it. In the mill there was sunshine — the 
loveliest Alpine rose bloomed there, the cheerful smiling 
Babette, beautiful as the spring, the spring that makes all 
the birds sing of summer and of marriage feasts. 

' How those two are always sitting together — close 
together ! ' said the Parlour Cat. ' I've heard enough of 
their mewing.' 


The Ice Maiden 

Spring had unfolded its fresh green garland on the 
walnut and chestnut trees extending from the bridge at 
St. Maurice to the shore of the Lake of Geneva, along the 
Rhone that rushes along with headlong speed from its 
source beneath the green glacier, the ice palace where the 
Ice Maiden dwells, and whence she soars on the sharp 
wind up to the loftiest snow -field, there to rest upon her 
snowy couch : there she sat, and gazed with far-seeing 
glance into the deep valleys, where the men ran busily to 
and fro, like ants on the stone that glitters in the sun. 

' Ye spirit powers, as the Children of the Sun call you,' 
said the Ice Maiden, ' ye are but worms. Let a snowball 
roll from the mountain, and you and your houses and 
towns are crushed and swept away ! ' 

And higher she lifted her haughty head, and gazed out 
far and wide with deadly flashing eyes. 

But from the valley there arose a rumbling sound. 
They were blasting the rocks. Human work was going on. 
Roads and tunnels for railways were being constructed. 

' They're playing like moles ! ' she said. ' They're 
digging passages under the earth, and thence come these 


sounds like the firing of guns. When I remove one of my 
castles, it sounds louder than the thunder's roar.' 

Out of the valley rose a smoke which moved forward 
like a fluttering veil : it was the waving steam plume of 
the engine, which on the lately opened road dragged the 
train, the curling snake, each of whose joints is a carriage. 
Away it shot, swift as an arrow. 

'They're plajdng at being masters down yonder, the 
spirit powers,' said the Ice Maiden, ' but the power of the 
forces of nature is greater than theirs.' 

And she laughed and sang till the valley echoed. 

' Yonder rolls an avalanche ! ' said the people. 

But the Children of the Sun sang louder still of human 
THOUGHT, the powerful agent that places barriers against 
the sea, and levels mountains, and fills up valleys — of 
human thought, that is master of the powers of nature. 
And at this time there marched across the snow-field where 
the Ice Maiden rules, a company of travellers. The men 
had bound themselves to one another with ropes, that they 
might, as it were, form a heavier body here on the slippery 
surface of ice on the margin of the deep chasms. 

' Insects that you are ! ' cried the Ice Maiden. * You 
the rulers of the powers of nature ! ' 

And she turned away from the company, and looked 
contemptuously down into the deep valley, where the long 
train of carriages was rushing along. 

' There they sit, those thoughts ! there they sit, in the 
power of the forces of nature ! I see them, each and all 
of them ! One of them sits alone, proud as a King, and 
yonder they sit in a crowd. Half of them are asleep. And 
when the steam dragon stops, they alight and go their 
ways. The thoughts go abroad into the world.' 

And she laughed again. 

' There rolls another avalanche ! ' said the people in the 

' It will not reach us,' said two who sat behind the steam 
dragon. ' Two hearts that beat like one,' as the song has 
it. These two were Babette and Rudy ; and the miller 
was with them too. 

' I go as baggage ! ' he said. ' I am here as a necessary 


' There those two sit,' said the Ice Maiden. ' Many a 
chamois have I crushed, milHons of Alpine roses have I 
broken to pieces, not even sparing the roots. I'll wipe 
them out, these thoughts — these spirit powers.' 

And she laughed again. 

' There rolls another avalanche ! ' said the people in the 
valley below. 

Babette's Godmother 

At Montreux, the first of the towns which with Clarens, 
Vernex, and Crin form a garland round the north-eastern 
portion of the Lake of Geneva, lived Babette's godmother, 
a high-born English lady, with her daughters and a young 
male relative. They had only lately arrived, but the 
miller had already waited upon them to tell them of 
Babette's betrothal, and the story of Rudy and the eaglet, 
and of his visit to Interlaken — in short, the whole story. 
And the visitors were much pleased to hear it, and showed 
themselves very friendly towards Rudy, Babette, and the 
miller, who were all three urgently invited to come and see 
them, and came accordingly. Babette was to see her god- 
mother, and the lady to make acquaintance with Babette. 

By the Httle town of Villeneuve, at the extremity of the 
Lake of Geneva, lay the steamship which in a half-hour's 
trip goes from there to Vernex just below Montreux. 
The coast here has been sung by poets ; here, under the 
walnut trees, by the deep bluish-green lake, sat Byron, 
and wrote his melodious verses of the prisoner in the 
gloomy rocky fortress of Chillon. Yonder, where the 
weeping willows of Clarens are clearly mirrored in the 
water, Rousseau wandered, dreaming of Heloise. The 
Rhone rolls onward among the lofty snow-clad mountains 
of Savoy: here, not far from its mouth, lies in the lake 
a little island, so small that seen from the coast it appears 
like a ship upon the waters. It is a rock which, about 
a century ago, a lady caused to be walled round with stone 
and coated with earth, wherein three acacia trees were 
planted, which now overshadow the whole island. 


Babette was quite delighted with this spot, which seemed 
to her the prettiest point of all their journey, and she 
declared that they must land, for it must be charming 
there. But the steamer ghded past, and was moored, 
according to custom, at Verne x. 

The little party wandered from here among the white 
sunny walls which surround the vineyards of Montreux, 
where the fig tree casts its shadow over the peasants' huts, 
and laurels and cypresses grow in the gardens. Half-way 
up the hill was situated the hotel in which the English lady 
was staying. 

The reception was very hearty. The English lady 
was very friendly, with a round smiling face : in her 
childhood her head must have been like one of Raphael's 
angels ; but she had an old angel's head now, surrounded 
by curls of silvery white. The daughters were tall, slender, 
good-looking, lady-like girls. The young cousin whom they 
had brought with them was dressed in white from head 
to foot. He had yellow hair, and enough of yellow whisker 
to have been shared among three or four gentlemen. 
He immediately showed the very greatest attention to 

Richly bound volumes, music -books, and drawings lay 
strewn about upon the large table ; the balcony door 
stood open, and they could look out upon the beauti- 
ful far-spreading lake, which lay so shining and still 
that the mountains of Savoy, with their towns, forests, 
and snowy peaks, were most accurately reproduced on its 

Rudy, who was generally frank, cheerful, and ready, 
felt very uncomfortable here, and he moved as if he were 
walking on peas spread over a smooth surface. How long 
and wearisome the time seemed to him ! He could have 
fancied himself on a treadmill ! And now they even went 
out to walk together ; that was just as slow and wearisome 
as the rest. Rudy might nave taken one step backward 
to every two he made forward, and yet have kept up with 
the others. They went down to Chillon, the old gloomy 
castle on the rocky island, to see the instruments of torture, 
the deadly dungeons, the rusty chains fastened to the walls, 
the stone benches on which men condemned to death had